The National Weather Service initially predicted as much as 18 inches of snow for northwest Indiana, which is part of the metropolitan area, but later downgraded the estimate,
Most of the metro area was under a winter weather advisory.
Forecasters told the Chicago Tribune the snow band is not expected to stagnate over the lower part of Lake Michigan, easing the threat of a monster snowfall.
The worst of the snow was expected to hit during the afternoon rush hour and last into Saturday morning, accompanied by temperatures in the 20s or lower, before moving east.
Elsewhere, an Atlantic storm was expected to sweep north from Pennsylvania and the New Jersey coast to Maine, Accuweather.com predicted.
In the West, little relief was predicted from drought conditions in California where rainfall in the past several months has totaled less than half of the norm. Average snowpack is about a third of the typical depth in the California mountains, threatening a water shortage in the spring, Accuweather.com said.