Snow moving east across the northern Plains was making a mess of Chicago's evening rush hour on Thursday, part of a one-two punch being followed up by a weekend storm.
Up to two inches of snow, as well as dangerous icy conditions, was forecast for the Chicago area Thursday evening.
That same system is expected to dump freezing rain and snow farther east over the weekend — from southern New England to central New York and central Pennsylvania, the Weather Channel reports.
Chicago's weekend storm will bring snow starting Saturday, as well as sub-zero wind chills due to gusts up to 40 mph through Sunday.
"Behind the storm, there's going to be strong winds and pretty cold temperatures," said National Weather Service meteorologist David Thomas. "We're looking at wind chills well into the negative digits, come Monday and Tuesday."
The mercury will be dipping into the teens in Indianapolis, Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, Boston, New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, forecasters said.
"It will be blustery and cold," Thomas said.
The Chicago Tribune's weather team said up to five inches of snow could fall over the area this weekend.
It also noted that December is running 10 degrees below normal for Chicago.
The storm fronts moving east from the Plains are separate from the snow generated earlier this week over the Great Lakes.
Several areas saw more than four feet of snow in four days.
Syracuse, N.Y., got 43 inches through Wednesday night — the fourth highest four-day snowfall total for the city on record, the National Weather Service said. That period included a 95-hour stretch of nonstop snow.
Intense lake-effect snowstorms are typical for late fall and early winter, when cold air rushes over warmer water. The threat is lessened later in the season when ice forms on the lakes.
Randolph, a small town in southwestern New York, had 59 inches of snowfall since Saturday morning, according to the National Weather Service.
"It's pretty much been snowing here nonstop since the beginning of the month, said Thomas.
Randolph was already damaged by a tornado over the summer. "They're struggling down there. The weather has not been kind to them," Thomas said.
Erie, Pa., was socked with as much as 20 inches of snow in some sections, while Cleveland and Rochester, N.Y., were blanketed by lake-effect snow, with several more inches yet to come, forecasters said.
In Cleveland, the snow provided for a comical scene in downtown Wednesday evening. With vehicle traffic backed up, Ryan Hollins, the center for the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers, was seen running through the streets to get to the arena for his team's game against the Chicago Bulls.