Snowstorm hits Chicago area ahead of bitter cold

Snow started falling in Chicago during the Wednesday evening commute and is expected to drop between 2 and 3 inches by the next morning and making for “slick” and “slushy” travel, forecasters say.

Initially mixed with rain, the snow moved northward across Chicago between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. as temperatures dropped below freezing, according to the National Weather Service meteorologist Kevin Birk.

“After about 6 p.m., roads will start to get really slick because of accumulating snow,” Birk said.

Between 1 and 2 inches of snow is expected Wednesday evening, but could be in the 2- to 3-inch range by Thursday morning, he said.

The snow will taper off Thursday morning, followed by a cold shot of air in the 20s that could fall into the teens by afternoon and single digits overnight, Birk said.

Winds of 10 to 20 mph — with gusts up to 25 mph — will bring wind chills possibly 10 below zero in Chicago and as low as minus 20 west of the metro area, according to the weather service forecast.

There’s also a risk of lakeshore flooding, with waves in Cook County between 8 and 11 feet, Birk said. A lakeshore flood advisory is in effect in Cook County between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Thursday.