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National Weather Service upgrades watch to winter storm warning

Service warns those who must drive to keep extra flashlight, food and water in vehicle

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Mark Busch - mbusch@shawmedia.com DeKalb Park District employee Jeff Zweifei plows the ice rink at Hopkins Park Wednesday in preparation for this Sunday's POLARpalooza Winter Festival. More snow is expected before then with additional accumulation making for a wintery weekend.[]

The National Weather Service upgraded its winter storm watch in northern Illinois to a warning early Thursday morning, meaning a lengthy and heavy snowfall is likely from Thursday night to Friday night.

The warning is in effect from 6 p.m. Thursday through 9 p.m. Friday, and six to 10 inches of snow are possible — some places may even see up to 12 inches.

"Travel will be very difficult to impossible at times, including during the morning commute on Friday," the alert stated.

Visibility will also likely be affected. The service encouraged motorists not to travel unless completely necessary and to keep an extra flashlight, food and water in the vehicle, in case of an emergency.