Drivers in the Fox Valley woke up Wednesday to find their cars covered in snow and the roads treacherous. | Mike Danahey/Sun-Times Media
The snowstorm that moved into the area overnight left the area coated with 5 inches of snow by the Wednesday morning commute, with more snow expected throughout the morning.
As of 6 a.m. Wednesday, snowfall accumulations were measured at 5 inches at O’Hare International Airport and 4.3 inches at Midway International Airport, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Richard Castro. The NWS office in Romeoville recorded 4.6 inches.
The snow was expected to continue falling through mid-morning and taper off by about noon, Castro said. Chicago remains under a winter weather advisory until 2 p.m.
As of 7:35 a.m., airlines at O’Hare had canceled 290 flights due to winter weather conditions and were experiencing delays of at least 20 minutes, the city’s Department of Aviation said. Midway was experiencing minor delays due to icing issues, and 40 flights had been canceled.
A statement from Illinois State Police advised motorists to take caution on the roads, reduce speeds and allow for extra travel time as high winds and whiteout conditions were possible in some areas.
“All of Cook County is snow-covered,” said ISP District Chicago Sgt. Rodney Collins.
Expressways in the area saw at least 40 crashes Wednesday morning, according to ISP, though none of the injuries were fatal or life-threatening.
“The roads are treacherous,” Collins said. “But IDOT is out in full force with the salt trucks trying to fight it.”
The Illinois Department of Transportation had 1,755 snowplows and 3,700 employees working to remove snow and ice, and the Illinois Tollway deployed its full fleet of 182 snowplows and more than 200 workers, a statement from Gov. Pat Quinn’s office.
Metra issued a service alert Tuesday morning warning of possible delays and service disruptions during the evening commute into Wednesday.
As of 9:20 a.m., trains were delayed up to 20 minutes on the Union Pacific/North Line, up to an hour on the Milwaukee District/North Line and the Union Pacific/Northwest Line, up to 20 minutes on the Union Pacific/West Line and up to 25 minutes on the SouthWest Service Line. Both in and outbound Metra Electric District trains were delayed up to 15 minutes.
Passengers are advised to allow extra travel time and check their website for service updates.
Wednesday’s highs will remain stuck in the lower 20s, the weather service said. Wednesday night brings another blast of colder weather, with lows ranging from the single digits to 10 below zero feeling more like minus-10 to minus-20 degrees with the wind chill.
The latest round of snow and cold follows a brutal January that ranked as Chicago’s 3rd snowiest and 10th coldest on record, the weather service said. Residents suffered through 33.7 inches of snow and a frigid average temperature of 15.7 degrees — more than 8 degrees below normal.