A large swath of the Chicago area will be subject to a winter storm warning on Saturday as several inches of snow are expected to fall on the first day of the New Year.
Constant and heavy snowfall and dangerous road conditions are expected, prompting Illinois officials to urge drivers to stay off the roads.
But the time the warning begins and the amount of snow you can see depend on where you live.
Here’s a breakdown of what to expect, and when, from NBC 5’s Storm team.
9 a.m. on Saturday
A warning begins at 9 a.m. in McHenry, DeKalb, Kane, LaSalle, Kendall, Grundy and Will counties in Illinois.
It warns of total snow accumulations between 4 and 8 inches with wind gusts of up to 35 mph in the afternoon and evening.
“Travel could become very difficult,” said the alert. “Blowing snow after sunset on Saturday could drastically reduce visibility, especially in open areas.”
The heaviest snow should fall between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
The warning remains in effect for these counties until midnight.
In Kankakee County, a winter weather advisory also begins at 9 a.m., warning of anywhere from 2 to 5 inches of snow. The advisory remains in effect until 3 a.m. Sunday.
12 p.m. Saturday
The warning begins at 12:00 p.m. CT in Lake, DuPage and Cook counties in Illinois, as well as in Lake and Porter counties in Indiana. Kenosha County in Wisconsin also has a winter storm warning at this time.
The snow, sometimes abundant, could also turn into blowing snow, making travel dangerous, according to the alert. Total accumulations of 5 to 9 inches are expected along with wind gusts of up to 40 mph in the afternoon and evening, particularly along the lake.
The heaviest snowfall rates are expected between 3 p.m. and 11 p.m.
The warning remains in effect until 6:00 a.m. CST Sunday.
A winter weather advisory is also in effect for LaPorte County, Indiana at this time. The advisory, which remains in effect until Sunday noon, warns of snow accumulations between 5 and 7 inches, with some places experiencing higher amounts, especially those near Lake Michigan.
3 p.m. Saturday
A winter weather advisory is taking effect in some counties in northwest Indiana, including Newton and Jasper.
The advisory, which remains in effect until 6 a.m. Sunday morning, warns of accumulations of 1-4 inches as rain turns to snow throughout the afternoon and evening.
What to know in the region
The Illinois Department of Transportation expects the winter storm to “create dangerous conditions statewide,” including extremely slippery conditions and poor visibility.
“IDOT crews will be on the roads, but conditions could still be extremely dangerous, so we encourage motorists to consider whether they really need to make the trip,” said Illinois Secretary of Transportation. , Omer Osman, in a statement. “If you have to travel, remember that freezing cold and wind reduce the effectiveness of the materials we use to treat snow and ice. Journey times will be long, so be sure to prepare your vehicle in case you get stranded.
Forecasters say constant blowing snow will be the storm’s main threat, causing dangerous travel conditions across the region.
Snow accumulations will vary widely depending on the path of the storm, but forecasters say accumulations between four and six inches are possible, along with northeast winds with gusts of over 35 miles per hour. .
IDOT said more than 1,800 trucks and equipment will be deployed statewide to treat roads and respond to weather emergencies. Drivers are advised to slow down and increase the driving distance if you encounter a plow or maintenance vehicle.
If you have to travel, IDOT recommends that you:
• Go easy, especially when approaching intersections, ramps, bridges and shaded areas prone to icing.
• Make sure your gas tank is full.
• Keep a cell phone, warm clothes, blankets, food, water, a first aid kit, windshield washer fluid, and a scraper in your vehicle.
• Check the forecast and make sure someone knows your route and schedule.
• Take a cell phone and dial * 999 in the Chicago area for help in an emergency.
• Reminder: Using cell phones while driving is illegal in Illinois, except in an emergency.
• If you are involved in an accident or breakdown, stay inside your vehicle, which is your safest shelter. Getting out of your vehicle into live traffic can have fatal consequences.
• Always wear a seat belt, whether you are sitting in the front or back seat. It’s the law.