Updated: January 21, 2014 10:49AM
It’s not a polar vortex — but that’s cold comfort to Chicagoans bundling up to face subzero wind chills this week, on the heels of a storm expected to dump several inches of snow along the lakefront.
Forecasters with the National Weather Service predicted that snow could pile up at more than two inches an hour as a lake-effect system moved ashore in Cook County late Monday and was expected to continue through the morning. The system was expected to pivot and head to Indiana by Tuesday afternoon.
When it’s over, the lakefront, southeast Cook County and the northern portions of Lake and Porter counties in Indiana could see from 6 and 12 inches of snow. Will County east of Interstate 57 could get 3 to 6 inches of snow.
Meanwhile, the narrow storm bands could miss western Cook County and other parts of the Chicago area entirely, where little to no lake-effect snow is predicted to fall.
A lake-effect snow warning remains in effect for Chicago until 9 a.m. Tuesday — through the morning rush. A warning covering northwest Indiana remains in effect until noon, and an advisory is in effect for parts of Will County until 9 a.m Tuesday.
Travel in those areas is “strongly discouraged,” while the snow is falling, as visibilities could drop to near zero within minutes, according to the weather service.
In a wintry 1-2 punch, temperatures could continue to slide Tuesday, when a cold front will bring high temperatures ranging from 8 to 12 degrees, the weather service said. Wind-chill temperatures could drop to 10 to 20 below zero.
Tuesday night’s lows may not break zero — temperatures of minus-3 to minus-7 will feel as cold as 25 below zero overnight with the wind chill. Temperatures Wednesday and Thursday could mimic Tuesday’s, and highs may not break the 20-degree mark until Friday, forecasters say.
Because of the frigid forecast, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart activated the jail’s 24-hour weather hotline. Relatives of inmates can call (773) 674-6618 for information on posting bond and arranging a discharge, his office said in a news release. Detainees who are homeless or do not have transportation may postpone their discharge.