Meteorologists are forecasting significant snowfall, high winds and concerning travel conditions over Christmas weekend in Chicago.
Experts are telling travelers to avoid changing through Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway International Airports in the runup to Christmas as a hazardous storm system is barreling towards the Midwest, potentially shutting down road systems and airports throughout the region, according to reports shared on social media by the National Weather Service. Snow and strong winds are expected to hit hard on Thursday night through Friday and possibly into Saturday, with full fledged blizzard conditions possible.
[4:00 AM 12/20] Confidence in a major winter storm continues to increase for the Thursday to Saturday time frame. Blizzard conditions are possible, and travel looks to become severely impacted, particularly Thursday night through Friday afternoon. #ILwx #INwx pic.twitter.com/GrBDIqqpLd
— NWS Chicago (@NWSChicago) December 20, 2022
NWS is forecasting “difficult to impossible travel” due to the low visibility and drifting snow, as well as power outages due to strong winds. Chicago’s road system could come to a total halt until later in the day on Friday, Lewis University adjunct professor of aviation meteorology Rick DiMaio told WION News. Snow is expected to fall as winds pick up to 40 to 50 mph, with more than six inches expected. (RELATED: Death Valley National Park Experiences Rare, Massive Flooding)
Additional threats to the area include significant lakeshore flooding, especially in parts of Indiana, according to another post from NWS. Temperatures could drop as low as -30F by Friday morning, which can cause frostbite in humans and animals within 10 to 20 minutes of exposure, NWS noted.
Weather reports from the greater Chicago area are updating on almost an hourly basis, with life-threatening cold conditions. Another major update is expected from NWS late Tuesday afternoon.