THE LOOP — The snow started falling right on schedule Saturday evening, and it could bury Chicago's neighborhoods under as much as 14 inches by Monday morning.
What could be the city's biggest storm of the season — and the biggest in four years — kicked off around 8 p.m. Saturday as meteorologists forecasted.
Several inches are expected to fall and accumulate overnight, and then more is to come Sunday. The lakefront is expected to be the hardest hit, with 10-14 inches possible.
Adding to that is a swift wind expected from the east, crossing over Lake Michigan and blasting the city Sunday afternoon with gusts up to 35 to 40 mph, National Weather Service meteorologist Ricky Castro said.
A last minute reprieve is not going to happen, he said.
"It's not going to miss us like the heaviest snows missed New York City the other day," Castro said. "It's not going to miss us."
While the snow coming Saturday into Sunday is expected to be wet and heavy, temperatures are expected to drop Sunday and lead to snow more prone to blow around in the windy conditions. That means visibility along the lakefront could be nasty, he said.
The rest of the Chicago area should brace for between 5 to 10 inches of snow. A winter storm warning is in effect until 6 a.m. Monday.
"It could be the biggest storm we've had overall [this season] and if it really maximizes, it could be a bigger storm than we even had last year," Castro said. " This is going to be a long duration snow and produce significant amount when it's all done."
Nearly 100 million people live in the path of the storm, which will grow stronger as it acquires moisture from the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, according to Alex Sosnowski, senior meteorologist for Accuweather.com.
Monday will be sunny, but scattered snowfall is expected for the rest of the week, the service said.
Last year, Chicago saw a range of 10-12 inches of snow just before the extreme cold associated with the Polar Vortex set in. But, if conditions are right, this current storm could be worse, Castro said.
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