At least 3 and possibly as much as 8 inches of snow is expected to fall in Chicago beginning Thursday evening as the area is under a winter weather advisory.
As ABC Chicago reports, rain is expected to turn into snowfall in the Chicago area right around the 5 p.m. evening commute Thursday and could continue through early Friday, producing an estimated 3 to 6 inches of heavy, wet snow, as well as the possibility of thundersnow, which would up the snowfall total.
According to the Chicago Tribune, WGN meteorologist Tom Skilling has predicted slightly more snowfall -- as much as 9 inches in some areas -- as part of a "wintry cocktail of precipitation" that can be blamed on a complex, fast-moving pressure system coming from Canada called the "Saskatchewan Screamer." Snow is expected to fall as rapidly as one inch per hour.
The snowfall will likely make for treacherous driving conditions. The National Weather Service has warned that slushy snow could accumulate rapidly and leave behind slick roads. Coupled with high winds, the snow will make for reduced visibility.
The Friday morning commute in Chicago could also be slick.
According to NBC Chicago, the snowfall into Friday could produce the largest snowfall of the season to date. Only 16 inches have fallen so far this winter in Chicago, far less than the 23 inches that fell during the city's third biggest blizzard on record the previous winter. That storm cost the city $37.3 million to clean up and blasted the area with winds up to 70 mph.
Only about an inch and a half of snow has fallen so far in February, NBC reports, which has continued the trend of an unusually warm winter in the area -- the city's warmest winter in 80 years.
If you want a reminder of what last year's thundersnow was like, check out this amazing video: