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UPDATE: Near-Blizzard Conditions May Hit St. Charles Area

Dropping temperatures, "thundersnow" and strong winds could make travel dangerous, forecasters say.

It’s still dripping wet out there, but it just might be getting serious.

The latest National Weather Service alert for St. Charles and the surrounding area includes a warning of possible blizzard conditions tonight as Old Man Winter rears up for the first time this season.

“The combination of the intense snowfall and very strong winds will result in greatly reduced visibilities and possibly near-blizzard conditions,” the National Weather Service alert states. “Falling temperatures will cause roads to become snow covered and travel treacherous. This will likely impact the evening rush hour. the strong winds may also result in minor damage and sporadic power outages. The greatest chance for near blizzard conditions is near the lake and porter county indiana shoreline.

As of 3:58 p.m., it’s been a long, wet, dreary day for St. Charles, starting with wind and rain showers this morning, then more steady rain in the afternoon as the temperatures began dropping. Snow is expected to begin in late afternoon or early evening, with accumulations from 2 to as much as 6 inches, although the heaviest accumulations are expected in the far north and northwest Chicago suburbs, the National Weather Service reports. “Locally, higher amounts are possible if heavy snow bands with thundersnow occur.

“The heaviest snowfall and lowest visibility should occur in the immediate Chicago metro area between 5 and 9 p.m.,” the National Weather Service reports. “Snow will linger through the night tonight. Very strong winds will develop as the snow arrives and continues Thursday night.

Winds expected to increase to 30 to 40 mph by late this afternoon will continue through the night, National Weather Service, which expects gusts up to 50 to 60 mph. The strong winds may result in minor damage and sporadic power outages.

“The combination of the intense snowfall and very strong winds will result in greatly reduced visibilities and possibly near-blizzard conditions,” the National Weather Service predicts. Combined with the falling temperatures, snow-covered roads will become treacherous and likely affect the evening rush.

The National Weather Service states that a winter storm warning for heavy snow means severe winter weather conditions are expected or are occurring; that significant amounts of snow are forecast, making travel conditions dangerous.

The warning advises people only to travel in an emergency, and if you do, keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency.

Patch will update this story as conditions change.

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