Chicago weather forecast calls for several inches of snow; Winter Storm Warning in Illinois today, Blizzard Warning in NW Indiana

Chicago (WLS) — A winter weather snow storm is moving into the Chicago area on Thursday, with several inches of snow forecast along with high winds and dangerous wind chills.

The National Weather Service is a Winter Storm Warning For the entire Chicago area and Northwest Indiana.

School Closings: See the full list

A warning is in effect from 9 a.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Saturday for DeKalb, Kane, Kendall, Grundy, Livingston and McHenry counties. For the rest of the Chicago area, the warning will be in effect from noon Thursday until 6 a.m. Saturday, while for areas of northwest Indiana the warning will begin at 3 p.m.

View | Latest 7 day weather forecast for Chicago

ABC7 Chicago meteorologist Tracy Butler said the storm could begin moving into the western suburbs by 9 a.m., with the city looking at noon and northwest Indiana at 3 p.m.

Three to six inches of snow is expected from the storm, Butler said, with higher amounts possible in northwest Indiana.

Chicago winter snowstorm causes hundreds of flight cancellations at O’Hare, Midway airports

The main danger is blowing snow from high winds. Butler said gusts of 50 miles per hour are possible.

A Blizzard Warning is in effect for Porter County, Indiana from 3 PM Thursday until 6 AM Saturday. Gov. Eric Holcomb has activated about 150 members of the National Guard to help stranded drivers as officials in Indiana and Illinois urge people to stay off the roads.

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Butler said temperatures could drop sharply Thursday as wind chills drop below zero by early Friday morning.

Meanwhile, Cook County says it’s ready for snow.

Sixty snow plows are on hand to both salt and clear the roads. Cook County employs about 65 drivers and has 16,000 tons of salt available.

Metra will run a more limited schedule due to the weather but will have extra staff to battle the elements.

The CTA said it will run trains and buses as usual on Thursday and Friday, but warned there could be delays due to the weather. Anyone waiting outside for a bus is advised to bundle up.

ComEd prepares for power cuts

ComEd said it is putting people and equipment in place to be able to respond quickly to a potential power outage.

“We are positioning our people and equipment to respond quickly and safely to any disruptions caused by this blizzard,” said Terrence Donnelly, ComEd’s president and COO. “We realize that any disruption is inconvenient for our customers, especially during the holidays. Avoiding power outages and restoring service quickly is critical. We’ve strengthened our systems over the years to minimize the effects that a storm like this can have on our customers.”

He said they will have more than 1,800 utility workers on the system, including 350 line workers across the country, to respond to any potential outage.

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ComEd customers can text (COMED) to 26633 and follow ComEd on Twitter or Facebook to report outages and receive restoration information. Customers can call 1-800 EDISON1 (1-800-334-7661) or report outages through the website at ComEd.com/report or use the ComEd app.

ComEd warns people to never approach a downed power line and not to contact ComEd personnel to ask about restoration times as they are working on live electrical equipment.

What can I do if my flight is canceled or delayed? How to prepare for the holiday travel chaos of 2022

Hundreds of flights cancelled:

Hundreds of flights were canceled at O’Hare and Midway airports on Thursday.

As of 4:30 a.m., 388 flights were canceled at O’Hare Airport, with 156 flight cancellations at Midway Airport.

Snowy conditions are expected across the Plains and Midwest to East Coast with high winds and plunging temperatures.

Delays and cancellations are adding to the chaos at airports packed with holidaymakers.

What can I do if my flight is canceled or delayed? How to prepare for the holiday travel chaos of 2022

Roads are also busy as many families travel by car for the holidays.

The storm will force closures for schools and attractions

Christkindlemarket will be closing early due to the storm. Its downtown Chicago and Aurora locations will shorten their hours and close at 4 p.m. Thursday, while the Wrigleyville market will be closed all day Thursday. All three markets will be closed on Friday.

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Lincoln Park Zoo will be closed Friday and the zoo’s lights have been canceled due to high winds and cold temperatures in the forecast. Anyone with tickets to ZooLights on December 23 should check their emails for more information.

The Adler Planetarium announced it will be closed Friday and Saturday in anticipation of the storm. It was scheduled to be closed on Sunday.

Chicago Public Schools are planning to open Thursday, but after-school activities have been canceled. Friday was already a scheduled holiday.

Click here to see a complete list of school closings

What are the criteria for avalanche?

For an avalanche warning to be issued, the following conditions must prevail for three hours or more:

-A storm must have sustained or frequent winds of 35 miles per hour or greater

– Falling and/or blowing snow will reduce visibility to less than a quarter mile

Stay tuned to ABC7 Eyewitness News and ABC7Chicago.com for the latest forecast and snowfall amounts as the winter storm approaches.

Cook County Radar DuPage County Radar Will County Radar Lake County Radar (IL) Kane County Radar Northwest Indiana Radar

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