A blizzard warning for the ABC7 viewing area begins at 3 a.m. Sunday and ends at 12 a.m. Monday.
Forecasters are warning travelers to stay off the roads. If you do need to travel, officials suggest taking a survival kit.
Three to six inches snow and much colder temperatures were expected to arrive Sunday, according to ABC7 meteorologist Phil Schwarz. More snow could fall in Indiana, especially in Porter County.
Strong, gusty winds in excess of 45 miles per hour are predicted for Sunday. Temperatures will drop into the teens Sunday and brisk winds will persist, creating dangerous wind chills of at least 10 to 20 below zero on Sunday night through Tuesday morning.
Illinois Dept. of Transportation salt trucks were filling up and preparing to hit the roads Saturday night. Chicago Streets and Sanitation had more than 100 trucks pre-loaded with salt. Officials said Saturday they would watch the dropping temperatures overnight.
"We are looking at freezing rain. We will have cameras, and we will start making some calls to start the salt," said Thomas Byrne, Chicago Streets and Sanitation commissioner.
The relatively mild conditions Saturday afternoon gave people an opportunity to get out and stock up on cold weather supplies and whatever they might need for Sunday's Bears game at Soldier Field.
Instead of preparing Soldier Field the day before, maintenance crews actually will get out early Sunday morning in anticipation of fresh snow.
Saturday's rain was just a prelude of the wintry wallop to come. Along Michigan Avenue, rain-soaked shoppers felt less than 'magnificent.'
"It's really cold. It's freezing. It's really freezing," one person said.
"Oh my gosh, it is miserable. I'm soaked. My toes are cold," Lauren McKeaney told ABC7 Chicago.
But the rain didn't stop some folks from enjoying Saturday night's zoo lights in Lincoln Park, although Ebele Heck and her three kids left after just five minutes.
"We're done. We're done. We saw the lights. We're going home," she said.
"Kinda wet, kinda cold, kinda nasty," said Celia Heck.
With a triple-threat of snow, high winds, and bitter cold forecast for the rest of the weekend, people were getting ready at a Home Depot store on North Avenue.
"It's time. It's winter. It's here. So, got to do it," shopper Joel Carlsen said.
Brad Tercek is his condo building's president, and he says he's learning it's not just an indoor job.
"We've got some fairly hazardous iron steps in the building. We are basically piling up as many canisters of salt as we can to get rid of the ice," said Tercek.
"People see the snow, and they run in. Where is the salt? Where are the shovels? What types of salt do you have?" said Paul Fatigato, Home Depot assistant manager.
The storm about to smack the Chicago area has already dumped more than 1 foot of snow in parts of Iowa and Minnesota, making for dangerous travel conditions.
"The roads are bad. They need to plow more. It's rough, really rough, and all this snow doesn't make it any better," one Minnesota motorist said.
"It's shocking. I had a piano recital today that I thought would be canceled, but it's not. So, I've got to do that," another Minnesota resident said.
For the Bears football game Sunday, Soldier Field is doubling its maintenance staff to prepare the field and stands for the expected bitter cold. It won't be as frigid as it was two years ago against the Green Bay Packers, when the wind chill was negative 13 degrees, setting a record. Still, it will be true Bears weather.
(The Associated Press and Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.)