CHICAGO

Chicago Snowfall Ahead: City's Snowless Streak Expected To End Thursday Evening

12/20/2012 11:29 am ET | Updated Dec 20, 2012

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Updated story

It is here, Chicago: the city's first snowstorm of the season entered into the area early Thursday evening, though it largely avoided making a giant mess of the afternoon commute.

The city's longest streak without snow on record was expected to grind to a halt with rain turning into snow Thursday afternoon or early evening, according to WGN. The Chicago area was expected to see between two and four inches of snow by Friday morning is under a Winter Storm Warning from 3 p.m. Thursday and 3 a.m. Friday.

The most "intense" snowfall is expected between 5 and 9 p.m. Thursday, Fox Chicago reports. Wind gusts Thursday evening are expected to hit 50 mph.

While snow had still avoided much of the city, heavy snow was already falling in Rockford as of 6 p.m. Thursday, NBC Chicago reports.

The weather was already impacting the city's airports earlier Thursday. Hundreds of flights were canceled at O'Hare and Midway airports and Southwest Airlines canceled all of its outgoing flights after 4 p.m.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation said it has 285,000 tons of salt ready to go ahead of the storm, ABC Chicago reports. Still Charles Williams, department spokesman, said the roads will likely be treacherous Thursday and he urged travelers to be cautious.

"It's not the snow," Williams told ABC. "It is the ice, and it's important to keep in mind that as those temperatures drop and those streets begin to freeze, you're going to have very icy conditions."

ComEd was also readying additional crews and is anticipating significant damage to its power system during the potentially "blizzard-like" storm.

Once the snow begins to fall, Chicagoans will be able to follow the location of the city's plows via the city's Plow Tracker, which debuted last winter.

Thursday's anticipated snowfall in Chicago will mark the latest ever date (on record) that measurable amounts of the white stuff fell in the city. The latest previous arrival of snow in Chicago was Dec. 16, 1965.

The same storm system previously dumped nearly a foot of snow on Des Moines, Iowa. Across the Midwest, through early Thursday, the storm has left at least three people dead. Just north of Chicago, in southern Wisconsin, officials are warning that the worst is yet to come from the system.

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