The storm that began as rain in Chicagoland will change to snow later Thursday, when a wind-driven, rapid freeze-up will lead to slippery travel.
While a severe arctic outbreak and excessive snowfall will not occur in Chicago, it will get cold enough, fast enough with high winds to cause problems.
As a blizzard wallops areas from Omaha to Green Bay, rain and increasing wind will affect the Chicago area from into Thursday afternoon. However, a sharp change to cold weather with high winds and snow is forecast to occur during the Thursday evening rush hour.
Bursts of snow will leave between 1 and 3 inches around Chicago. It is possible blizzard conditions develop for a brief time Thursday evening. A layer of ice and slush that forms on untreated surfaces can make for very slippery and dangerous travel conditions.
According to Chief Meteorologists Elliot Abrams, "If folks want to see a foot of snow they may only have to drive 80 miles to the west in the blizzard Thursday over northwestern Illinois or 80 miles to the east in lake-effect over northwest Indiana Friday."
Motorists should expect delays and very slippery conditions to spread eastward Thursday night.
Flight delays are possible, not only from the period of snow and icy conditions that can occur, but also from the high northwest wind gusts that can range between 50 and 70 mph.
There is the potential for power outages, downed trees and minor property damage.
The plunging temperatures, high winds and snow squalls will slice eastward over Indiana, Ohio and Michigan Thursday night, potentially resulting in a similar rapid freeze-up on untreated surfaces.
In addition, the combination of heavy lake-effect snow and near hurricane-force wind gusts will make for whiteout conditions in the snow belts of northern Indiana, western Michigan and northeastern Ohio through Friday.
Strong winds will remain a problem Friday in Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Buffalo and Pittsburgh.
Another powerful storm could affect the Midwest around the same time next week (Dec. 26-27).
Comments that don't add to the conversation may be automatically or manually removed by Facebook or AccuWeather. Profanity, personal attacks, and spam will not be tolerated.
A large part of South America will be treated to a "ring of fire" solar eclipse on Sunday, but only if the weather cooperates.
Flooding created chaos for hundreds in California this week, while a deadly wind storm slammed the United Kingdom.
A line of strong thunderstorms will march across the northeastern United States interior on Saturday with the potential for flash flooding and damaging wind gusts.
Polar air will continue to blast the United Kingdom throughout March, making it feel like an extended winter for the British Isles.
Storm Doris turned deadly as it created travel chaos, widespread tree damage and hundreds of thousands of power cuts across the United Kingdom on Thursday.
Potent thunderstorms will threaten a portion of the midwestern United States with destructive winds and isolated tornadoes into Friday night.
A snowstorm with localized blizzard conditions is snarling travel across the central United States on Friday.
One of the coldest winters in recent memory will not go away without a fight across Germany this spring.