High winds could kick up snow for blizzard-like conditions

December 19, 2012 (CHICAGO)

The National Weather Service extended the Winter Storm Watch to include all areas north of I-80, including the city. The main concern: high winds -- which could hit 40 to 50 mph -- on Thursday that could cause blizzard-like conditions Thursday afternoon and night.

"It's going to get messy around here Thursday night," said ABC7 Meteorologist Jerry Taft.

The main problem Wednesday night will be some pretty heavy rain with a couple of thunderstorms.

The cold air with snow will move in on Thursday evening, hopefully after a good portion of the rush hour. It will be very windy and when the winds kick up during the height of storm, Chicago could see blizzard-like conditions. Some of the outlying areas Thursday night will have near white out conditions.

As much as one to six inches of snow is possible in parts of the Chicago area.

Travel on Thursday could become increasingly dangerous as roads freeze and snow accumulates form west to east. According to ABC7 Meteorologist Mike Caplan, "Visibilities will be reduced due to the blowing snow, making travel even more difficult."

Drivers are urged to use caution on the area roadways, and airline travelers should allow for extra time- and call ahead.

The Winter Storm Watch remains in effect until midnight Friday and includes Boone, Lee, Ogle, Winnebago, DeKalb, DuPage, McHenry, Coook, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake and Will counties in Illinois; Lake and Porter County in Indiana; and Kenosha in Wisconsin.

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