CHICAGO
01/20/2012 09:45 am ET Updated Jan 20, 2012

Snow In Chicago: 5 To 8 Inches Ahead For Area Friday (VIDEO)

Frigid temperatures in the Chicago area gave way to as much as 8 expected inches of snowfall that began Friday morning.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for Cook, DuPage, Kane and McHenry counties beginning at 6 a.m. Friday, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

The Chicago Tribune reports that traffic has slowed to a crawl on area expressways.

As of just after 3:30 p.m. Friday, the CTA announced that all buses utilizing Lake Shore Drive have been re-routed to nearby surface streets "due to weather/roadway conditions."

Meteorologists forecast that between 5 and 8 inches could fall in the area with the heaviest snowfall -- around an inch per hour -- anticipated during the mid-afternoon, which will likely make for a messy Friday rush hour, according to the Sun-Times.

With temperatures hovering around the teens, road salt will be less effective than usual, making clear roadways more difficult to come by, according to the Tribune

Nevertheless, the Illinois Department of Transportation had a fleet of 365 plows ready to hit the roads early Friday, according to NBC Chicago.

According to Fox Chicago, airlines at O'Hare International Airport have already canceled 280 flights because of the impending storm, as of 7:30 a.m. Friday. As of mid-afternoon, Midway has canceled 70 of its flights and the number of canceled O'Hare flights has increased to more than 300, the Tribune reports.

One plus of the storm, as ABC Chicago reports, is that temperatures are expected to rise slightly in the area once the snowfall begins. The cold temperatures in the area have caused the city to open all six of its warming centers and the city Department of Family and Support Services has urged individuals to contact 311 if they require any assistance, including well-being checks on friends, relatives or neighbors.

As the Tribune points out, Jan. 20, coincidentally, marks a historic day in Chicago weather as Jan. 20, 1985, is the coldest day on the city's record books. That day, the mercury plunged to 27 below zero.

Temperatures in the area will not be coming anywhere near that level of bitter cold and, in fact, the weekend forecast looks warmer. Precipitation is expected to come down in the form of rainfall Sunday and a rain/snow mix Monday, according to NBC.

Last week, the first significant snowfall in the Chicago area occurred, when between 4 and 8 inches fell in the area.

-

CONVERSATIONS