Heavy snow expected Friday night before bitter cold hits Chicago this weekend

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(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

A “real Midwest winter” is on the way for the Chicago area, with heavy snow expected Friday night before temperatures plummet by Sunday, the National Weather Service is warning.

The snow could fall up to an inch per hour starting Friday afternoon or evening, with up to 4 to 8 inches expected by Saturday morning north of I-88, according to preliminary forecasts. Areas south of the interstate could see between 3 and 7 inches.

Drivers can expect a dangerous Friday evening commute, with the worst hazards, including reduced visibility and ice covered roads, mainly on or north of I-88, the weather service warned. The storm should taper off by noon Saturday, but more lake effect snow is possible from Saturday night into Sunday morning.

Daytime high temperatures were forecast in the low to mid-20s until Saturday. Nighttime Saturday temperatures could plummet to 12 degrees, and only reach as high as 17 on Sunday, the weather service said.

Temperatures could dip into the single-digits Sunday night, with a high near 19 expected on Monday, the weather service said. Wind chills could plummet to 18 degrees below zero over the weekend, with temperatures staying below 20 until at least Thursday.

In anticipation of the snow, Amtrak canceled Saturday service of its Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited lines, which connect Chicago to Washington D.C. and New York.