Snow piling up; 1,100 flights+ canceled
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Updated: March 5, 2013 4:29PM
A late winter storm that’s expected to dump as much as 8 inches of snow throughout the area on Tuesday blanketed the area in white stuff and led to airlines cancelling more than 1,100 flights at the city’s airports.
While the storm was expected to make the Tuesday afternoon commute a “nightmare,” according to a National Weather Service meteorologist, Illinois State Police were reporting no major weather-related accidents as of about 3:20 p.m.
A mix of rain, sleet and snow began pelting the outer edges of the Chicago region just before 6 a.m., according to the weather service. By 10:30 a.m., five inches of snow had fallen in Rockford, while suburbs closer to the city had about two inches of accumulation.
By about 3 p.m., weather service spotters had reported 5.1 inches of snow at Midway Airport, 5.1 inches in Downers Grove, 4.6 inches in Elmhurst, 5 inches in Arlington Heights, 5 inches in Evanston, 7.3 inches in Rockford, and 3.4 inches on Chicago’s Northwest Side.
The weather service has issued a winter storm warning for all Chicago area counties that will remain in effect until midnight.
As of about 1:30 p.m., more than 1,100 flights had been canceled at O’Hare and Midway airports, according to the city’s Department of Aviation.
Meteorologists initially believed as much as 10 inches could blanket the area, but those predictions were downgraded by the time the storm hit.
It is now believed four to eight inches will pile up across a broad swath of the region, stretching from southern McHenry County to Kankakee County in the south, as well as northwest Indiana, according to the weather service.
Areas closer to Lake Michigan could see higher snow totals because east winds off the lake could create lake-effect snow.
Wind gusts up to 30 mph will cause blowing and drifting snow, bringing visibility down to a quarter-mile or less on roadways.