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Up to 8 inches of snow expected as Chicago area braces for season’s largest storm

“It looks like 24 hours of snow, basically,” meteorologist Matt Friedlein said of the incoming storm, which is expected to stretch from Monday afternoon to Tuesday evening.

Up to nine inches of snow may fall across the Chicago area starting Jan. 25, 2021.
Rich Hein/Sun-Times file

A winter storm barreling toward the Chicago area could bring up to eight inches of snow over the next two days, which would mark the largest single accumulation so far this winter.

The snowfall is expected to start Monday afternoon and continue through Tuesday evening, according to the National Weather Service.

“It looks like 24 hours of snow, basically,” said meteorologist Matt Friedlein, who noted that a winter storm warning would remain in effect from 4 p.m. Monday until 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Forecasters are predicting between 5 and 8 inches of new snowfall as well as wind gusts up to 40 mph and freezing temperatures. Freezing rain or sleet may also mix with Monday’s snowfall in areas south of Interstate 88, potentially affecting the total accumulation in that region.

The incoming storm could ultimately mark Chicago’s “biggest winter event in a while,” according to Friedlein. Most recently, a two-day blizzard pummeled the city with 8.4 inches of snow in November 2018, and another winter storm in April 2019 brought 5.4 inches.

With the weather service warning the Monday evening and Tuesday morning commutes could be perilous, Friedlein encouraged drivers to pack an emergency kit and consider working from home, if possible.

Amid a relatively mild Chicago winter, Friedlein noted that current weather patterns signal the rest of the season “could be more active.”

“Now, more active does not necessarily mean more snow,” he clarified. “If we stay on the milder side of things, that could be more rain or more mixed precipitation.”