Traffic moves freely along 95th Street in southwest Naperville on Thursday, December 20, 2012, despite snow and driving winds during winter storm Draco. | Jeff Cagle~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 22, 2013 6:27AM
A winter storm Thursday evening caused hundreds of flight cancellations and snowy conditions.
The National Weather Service, expecting intense snowfall and high winds to move into the area, issued a winter storm warning through 3 a.m. Friday.
The Chicago area had gone 290 days without significant snow accumulation through Wednesday.
Rain changed to snow late Thursday afternoon with the heaviest snowfall in the northern suburbs. Two to six inches of accumulation was expected in the northern suburbs and northwest Indiana.
Wind gusts up to 50 miles per hour caused blowing and drifting snow throughout the night.
The falling temperatures and near-blizzard conditions will cause roads to become snow covered and make rush hour travel “treacherous,” according to the weather service.
The Illinois Tollway said it mobilized its full fleet of 182 snowplows in preparation for the storm. It has also canceled all temporary lane closures through Dec. 26 to help with snow removal.
“This weather event is expected to impact most of the Tollway system — from Rockford to Chicago — resulting in rapidly deteriorating driving conditions across the entire region,” Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur said in a statement. “We urge everyone to stay off the roads... if possible, but if you must drive, slow down and allow plenty of extra time for the commute.”
In the air, low visibility caused airlines to cancel more than 200 flights at O’Hare Airport, according Chicago’s Department of Aviation.
At Midway Airport, airlines have canceled more than 150 flights and Southwest Airlines has canceled all of its Midway flights after 4 p.m.
Temperatures are expected to remain in the 20s Friday and will drop into the mid-teens Friday night. The high temperature will only rise to near freezing levels over the weekend.