Updated at 1 p.m. Dec. 18:
The National Weather Service in Romeoville has announced a winter storm warning, cautioning Illinois residents that a "powerful winter storm will move from the southern plains Wednesday to near Chicago Thursday morning and then across the eastern Great Lakes Friday morning."
Several inches of snow could accumulate, and strong winds are likely to develop by Thursday afternoon, continuing into Thursday night with the potential for wind gusts of up to 45 mph.
"These strong winds combined with the falling snow may produce near white-out conditions," according to the National Weather Service.
Snow might finally arrive in Downers Grove on Thursday, according to the National Weather Service forecast.
Rain showers Wednesday night could turn into snow Thursday afternoon. Expect winds and blowing snow, as well.
A weather service warning issued Monday morning said:
"Anyone who plans on traveling across the Midwest Wednesday night through Thursday night should be prepared for difficult travel ... especially for areas west and north of Chicago."
Temperatures will drop from a high of 38 to an overnight low of 20, and gusting wind will create blowing snow, the forecast said.
The weather service, based locally in Romeoville, held off on predicting any accumulations, other than to say "any shift in the track of the surface low will make a significant difference as to where heavy snow occurs."
Other forecasters, however, are not being as circumspect, with some predicting local accumulations of as much as six to 12 inches.
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