Hurricane Sandy is expected to slam into the East Coast late Monday or early Tuesday, and the storm could batter a region that's home to 50 million people with 4-to-11-foot waves, 75-mph winds, a foot of rain and even snow in some states.
Northern Illinois will be affected, too, says the National Weather Service as it tracks the path of Hurricane Sandy.
The cooler air over the Chicago area, courtesy of a large Canadian high pressure system, will likely stay through the middle of next week, its escape blocked by Sandy.
"As Sandy moves north to our latitude and slows, it will halt the west-to-east progress of high and low pressures across the Midwest and western Great Lakes," reports the National Weather Service. "This 'blocking' will maintain the high pressure and dry air mass over (the area)."
The greatest danger is on or near Lake Michigan, where waves could be as high as 20 feet.
"The primary impact will be powerful northerly winds over and near Lake Michigan that will increase on Monday night through the middle of next week around the outer influence of Sandy and its remnants. Gale force winds will occur, with even storm force winds possible over the water," according to the Weather Service.
The service has issued a gale watch in effect Monday night through Tuesday. The watch will be in effect for a stretch of the lake that starts in Sheboygan, WI, goes through Illinois and Indiana, and ends up at South Haven, MI. The affected area will be from 5 nautical miles from the shoreline to about the middle of the lake, the weather service said.
Hurricane Sandy is off the coast of the Carolinas and is traveling north at 13 mph over the open water of the Atlantic Ocean parallel to the East Coast. Forecasters expect the system to take a sharp left turn Monday morning and head toward the New Jersey coastline.
At 2 p.m. Monday, while it's still offshore, the storm will have winds of 80 mph.
Want to Know More about the Local Weather?
- The Latest Graphical Forecasts for the Chicago Area from the National Weather Service
- The Lake Michigan Forecast
Face to Face with Sandy: The Storm Approaches
Do you have friends or family on the East Coast? Keep up with news of Hurricane Sandy and how it's affecting small towns in the East.