Severe Weather in Chicago Could be Deadly, Says Weather Service

January 31, 2011 Updated: January 31, 2011

Chicago weather could be deadly, with whiteouts and flooding, according to an urgent message from the National Weather Service on Monday, Jan. 31.

The agency said the storm will be multifaceted and potentially life threatening, with no visibility, high winds, possible flooding near Lake Michigan, and snowfall so heavy that plows will not be able to keep up. Lake effect snow of up to 18 inches is a possibility for the city.

Conditions are also ripe for extreme snowfall in the rest of Illinois and Wisconsin. “Needless to say this could be a historic blizzard capable of paralyzing parts of Southeast Wisconsin,” the warning said.

In the surrounding states, a weather disturbance with low pressure is likely to dump heavy snow, from four to 17 inches, with poor visibility and high snow drifts making travel dangerous, according to the service. Conditions for a storm as severe as the blizzard of 1999 are in place, it said.

Winds up to 60-miles-per-hour are possible and could cause high waves and flooding along the shores of Lake Michigan. Those who live near the lake should take steps to protect their property, the NWS said.

Snow is then expected to increase and will head north until Wednesday morning. It will be so heavy that travel would become nearly impossible, according to the weather service.