Winter storm watches and advisories have been put in place across the entire Chicago area for the season’s first snowstorm.
Parts of the greater Chicago area could see about a foot of accumulation by Saturday afternoon, with the heaviest snowfall forecast north and west of the city, according to the National Weather Service.
Will, Kankakee and Kendall counties were placed under a winter weather advisory, while Cook, Lake, DuPage, McHenry and Kane counties are under a winter storm warning, according to the weather service. All advisories and warnings are in effect until 3 p.m. Saturday.
The snowfall is expected to begin after sunset Friday and end Saturday afternoon, with the bulk of the snow falling overnight Friday, according to weather service meteorologist Kevin Donofrio.
In the city, two to five inches of snow could fall, Donofrio said Thursday. Areas north and west of the city could get even more, with less snow expected to the south.
City officials said crews have been preparing for the snowy season and have its fleet of more than 280 snow removal vehicles at the ready along with a stockpile of more than 330,000 tons of salt.
The Department of Streets and Sanitation deployed 260 snow plows and salt spreaders on main streets in Chicago Friday night.
Salt spreaders will be deployed Friday evening and are expected to hit the streets through Saturday afternoon, focusing on arterial streets and areas around firehouses, police stations and hospitals before taking care of the other roughly 9,400 lane miles of roadway in the city, according to the Department of Streets and Sanitation.
They’ll also focus downtown to make sure roads are clear for Saturday evening’s Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, officials said.
Typically, the first accumulating snowfall — a tenth of an inch or more — is seen in Chicago around Nov. 16, according to the weather service.
Last year, a tenth of an inch fell on Halloween. The first snowfall above one inch came Nov. 15, 2014.
Temperatures were expected to hover around the freezing mark overnight, followed by a high of about 38 Saturday. The temperature Saturday night is forecast to drop to around 22, with Sunday expected to be sunny with a chilly high near 30.