Here in Chicago, we're used to dramatic, dire weather forecasts.
Meteorologists usually get it right, but their forecasts sometimes miss the mark and we get all hyped up for nothing.
Contact information ( * required )
Could that happen with today's snowstorm, which the National Weather Service has called "potentially life threatening" and one that could rival the 23-inch Blizzard of 1967?
As of Monday evening, computer models put the odds of the area getting more than 8 inches of snow at 85 percent, and the odds of getting more than 12 inches at between 55 and 70 percent, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Stephen Rodriguez.
He said it is statistically possible that a last-minute meteorological deviation of some sort -- such as dramatic shift south or dry air wrapping into the system -- could result in slightly smaller snowfall totals. But Rodriguez warned people not to get their hopes up.
"There is a strong storm moving our way," Rodriguez said. "We are expecting quite possibly one to two feet.
The National Weather Service forecast put the storm's bullseye just south of Chicago, roughly along I-80, where 21 to 24 inches is possible falling at rates of two to three inches per hour. Adding to the misery will be winds gusts at more than 50 mph, wiping out visibility and creating huge snow drifts.
ABC7 meteorologist Phil Schwarz said the odds of a computer model error this close to the storm's arrival is "next to impossible."
That the storm would somehow miss Chicago "would fly in the face of what every computer model is saying," Schwarz said. "Everything already exists for this storm to be a monster. The odds of us getting hit hard are very, very great. The least amount of snow anyone would get in our area would be six inches, and the vast majority of our area will be 12 and 18 inches."
Areas north and west of Chicago -- places like Antioch and Woodstock -- will get slightly less snow, Schwarz predicts.
AccuWeather meteorologist Cory Mottice agreed that the odds of computer programs and meteorologists misjudging the storm at this point are "very unlikely."
"It's looking more and more likely as it gets closer," Mottice said. "In a storm like this, you're going to have a very tight gradient where you have a lot of snow, and you don't go far, and you have a lot less snow ... but this storm has a very good feed from the Gulf (of Mexico). You're probably not going to have any dry spots. You're going to have very intense snow bands. It's definitely going to be terrible to go out in."
"There will be a significant amount of snowfall," Rodriguez said. "Right now, it's highly advisable to have some type of contingency for tonight into Wednesday."
The main storm wasn't anywhere near Illinois when the whole state was declared a weather disaster area.
And Southwest Airlines has canceled all flights in and out of Chicago's Midway Airport from Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday afternoon.