Snow could reach 3 inches in city, 2 to 5 in metro area
Updated: February 22, 2013 7:28AM
Snow started to taper off Friday morning after a storm moved across the area overnight blanketed the area in up to 5 inches.
The city’s full fleet of 284 snow plows were out clearing and salting streets, first focusing on main streets and then shifting to residential streets, according to a statement from the city’s Department of Streets and Sanitation.
The National Weather Service warned that wind gusts of up to 30 miles-per-hour could “result in wind whipped snow” and brief whiteout conditions causing reduce visibility.
The wet snow could also make shoveling sidewalks and driveways harder, the weather service said.
The snow began late Thursday, and as much as an inch of accumulation per hour was possible early Friday, the weather service said.
Meteorologist Gino Izzi said between 2 and 5 inches of accumulation are expected in the Chicago area, but only 2 or 3 inches are likely in the city.
The storm might seem insignificant for February in Chicago, but it could be the biggest storm in a winter that has only produced 10.9 total inches of accumulation at O’Hare International Airport, Izzi said.
The largest snowfall at O’Hare this winter left only 2.7 inches of accumulation Feb. 3 and 4, Izzi said.
A winter weather advisory will remain in effect in until 6 p.m. Friday as periods of “heavy snow,” sleet or rain are expected to limit visibility, make roads slippery and travel difficult, the weather service said.
The snow is expected to mix with light freezing drizzle by Friday morning, according to the weather service, but Izzi said the significant precipitation should be gone by the morning rush.
The Illinois Department of Transportation will have crews working to keep the roads clear until the storm passes. The Illinois Tollway is also prepared to mobilize its full fleet of 182 snowplows as necessary.
The snow and sleet are expected to change to all rain by Friday afternoon, when the temperature is expected to climb to 36 degrees, according to the weather service.