Chicago Weather: New Year's Eve snowstorm could threaten party plans

December 30, 2013 (CHICAGO)

On Monday night there was only a dusting of snow on the ground, but it was just enough to get people thinking about New Year's Eve. For those inclined to avoid the crowds anyway, it might be a good night to celebrate at home.

A snowstorm moving into the Chicago area just in time for New Year's Eve could leave most of the Chicago area with several inches of snow, Eyewitness News meteorologist Mike Caplan said.

"I am concerned that the snowfall totals are going to be rather substantial. We're forecasting 6" snowfall totals widespread across the area, and in some cases, it will be 10" or more from the looks of it," said Caplan.

Navy Pier will be bustling New Year's Eve. Among the offerings is Winter Wonderfest, lakefront dinner cruises with views of the skyline, a midnight fireworks show and two large ballroom parties.

"It's going to be, from what the weather is saying, it's going to be messy out there. So we want to make sure you have enough time, and you take public transportation to our wonderful event tomorrow evening," said Dustin Mantell, Chicago Resolution Gala Organizer.

On Monday night, revelers came to pick up their event tickets-- many with an eye on the forecast.

"I'm going to be dressed to the nines with my boots. (You came prepared.) I came prepared. (Nothing's going to stop you?) Nothing's going to stop us for this event," said Vickie Jones.

Though this wintry blast won't be nearly as bad as the New Year's blizzard of 1999, when a whopping 22 inches of snow fell, it is expected to arrive as many are traveling to their New Year's Eve destinations. The snow is an added concern on an already-busy day on the roads.

"However you choose to get from point A to point B, the only thing that matters is not to drink and drive," said Supt. Garry McCarthy, Chicago Police Dept.

To encourage the use of public transportation, the CTA will be offering its traditional penny rides from ten at night until four in the morning.

With the snow, it could be even harder to get a taxi.

"We'll have a few hundred SUVs on the road tomorrow at least, and those drivers know they're going to be in high demand," said Andrew McDonald, Uber.

Emergency rooms are also ready as the severity of slip-and-fall injuries are often not apparent until after sobering up.

"The alcohol can play a role. You lose your balance easier. Some people don't think it hurts as bad, so we do expect to see not only New Year's Eve injuries but New Year's Day follow up," said Lee Hinsberger, Northwestern Immediate Care.

Doctors say they also see a lot of frostbite cases on New Year's Eve with alcohol making people feel warmer than they actually are, and the lack of cabs forcing people to walk.

A winter weather advisory is in effect from 4 p.m. Tuesday to 10 a.m. Wednesday for Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake and McHenry counties, as well as areas around Rockford and De Kalb.

Sub-zero wind chills ahead of New Year's Eve storm

Chicago is in a deep freeze that has most people struggling to stay warm.

At Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo on Monday afternoon, there were tigers and lions, but surprisingly, no polar bears as the area remained in the grips of an arctic blast.

The Blondo family from Moose Lake, Minn. says braving single digit temperatures and wind chills well below freezing isn't that big of a deal.

"Come on up. You'll see what cold is," said Beth Blondo, Minnesota resident.

''It was about 75, 80 degrees when I left Phoenix, when I landed, I thought it was great. But this morning, I walked out of the hotel and it was a little colder than it was the last few days,'' said Michael Lambard, a Phoenix resident.

Lambard, an Arizona resident and Chicago Bears fan, says he is especially cold as he tries to cope with the recent arctic blast. Then, there are those who are not staying out of the cold. Some people are standing outside along Michigan Avenue awaiting the release of Nike's latest footwear.

''I've been here since 6:00 am this morning, I like doing this. I have fun with my friends and I want to get them,'' said shopper Stefan Milatovic.

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