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Huge Storm Coming: 12 Inches Of Snow Could Hit Chicago Starting Saturday

By Kelly Bauer | December 8, 2016 2:21pm | Updated on December 10, 2016 1:19pm
 Snow is coming.
Snow is coming.
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CHICAGO — The city will get pummeled with snow this weekend and face sub-zero temperatures next week.

Chicago is expected to get 8-12 inches of snow during a storm that will start Saturday and not end until Sunday, said Amy Seeley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. More snow will come during storms next week, too.

Temperatures shouldn't dip too low over the next few days — they'll be close to 30 degrees — but once the storms are past next week they could fall below zero, said Edward Fenelon, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

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"... Very, very chilly air for this time of year," Fenelon said. It's "very unusual to have cold to this degree in December."

Saturday's storm should hit the city around 6 p.m. and last through Sunday evening, Seeley said. A winter storm warning has been issued for Chicago as the storm is expected to leave as much of 12 inches of snow in the city, Seeley said.

AccuWeather meteorologist John Feerick said the North Side should see the highest amount of snow, though AccuWeather is expecting to see only 4-8 inches of snow throughout the city. There could be a brief lull in the storm Sunday before more snow comes, he said.

A lighter storm is expected Monday, though that will likely leave only "a coating to an inch" of snow in the city, Feerick said.

Once the snow storms are gone, temperatures are expected to plunge thanks to an Arctic cold front. They're already expected to be 13 degrees below average on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, but they could fall to 20-25 degrees below average for Tuesday, Wednesday and Dec. 15.

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That means the city is expected to face sub-zero temperatures during the nights, and temperatures will only warm into the single digits and lower teens during the day, Fenelon said. That kind of cold is more typical for January.

Wednesday night will be the chilliest, potentially hitting five below zero, Feerick said. The wind could make Chicago feel even colder, Feerick said, and there will be a risk of frostbite.

"People are going to want to take precautions. They're going to want to bundle up," Feerick said, advising those go outside to make sure their skin isn't expsed. "When those windchills get down there, the teens and 20s below zero as they could be ... [frostbite] certainly can happen in just minutes."

The city has opened six warming centers as the chilly weather hits.

Fenelon said Chicagoans should check out the National Weather Service's winter preparedness website to make sure they're ready for the snow and cold temperatures.

The site advises people to prepare a flashlight with extra batteries, gather extra food and water, make sure they have an alternative heating source during emergencies and make sure they have first-aid supplies, among other things.

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