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Chicago area shovels out after biggest snowstorm in two years

PILING UP

Batavia: 9.1 inches

Elk Grove Village: 7.5 inches

Joliet: 8.7 inches

Midway Airport: 9.4 inches

Streamwood: 9 inches

West Chicago: 6.8 inches

Woodstock: 7.5 inches

Yorkville: 7.9 inches

Storify: CTA riders give feedback
Photos: Chicago's rush hour snow documented on Instagram
Radar: Chicago Doppler weather map
High school basketball cancellations
Real-time flight delays
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Updated: April 7, 2013 6:26AM



The Chicago area is digging out from under the biggest snowstorm since the blizzard of February 2011 — with 9.2 inches at O’Hare.

That O’Hare total set a record for March 5. The previous record was 3.8 inches, set in 1999 and tied in 2002.

Another inch of snow was possible before the storm tapers off into light flurries after midnight, the National Weather Service said. Some areas closer to Lake Michigan could see snow showers continue into early Wednesday morning.

In Chicago, main streets should be clear for the Wednesday morning rush, according to the Department of Streets and Sanitation, but suburban drivers may encounter sloppy roads on their trek to work. Snow plows were being redeployed to residential streets early Wednesday.

Flight travel in and out of Chicago’s two major airports has mostly returned to normal Wednesday morning.

As of 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, travelers arriving at O’Hare faced no significant delays, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation.

That said, officials canceled 75 fights that were headed for parts of the East Coast getting hit by the same storm that passed through the Chicago area Tuesday.

At Midway Airport 10 flights were canceled Wednesday morning and travelers faced minor delays, according to the aviation department.

The flakes started to fall Tuesday morning across an area stretching from DeKalb and McHenry counties across the city and into Indiana.

By the time it was over, O’Hare recorded 9.2 inches of snow — “the largest single-day total since the Blizzard of 2011,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Jamie Enderlen.

The hardest-hit areas in northern Illinois — with 11 inches of snow — were west suburban La Grange Park and Chicago Rockford International Airport.

Northwest suburban Elgin had 7 inches of snow. West suburban Batavia saw 9.1 inches and Naperville had 8.5 inches. South suburban Homewood and Chicago Ridge each had about 9 inches on the ground. Southwest suburban Joliet saw 8.7 inches of snow. North suburban Lake Bluff had 6.1 inches.

The city of Chicago, IDOT and the Illinois Tollway called out the troops — with hundreds of plows — but still struggled to keep up with the snowfall, which reached an inch an hour in many areas.

Tuesday’s snowstorm forced the cancellation of more than 1,180 flights at O’Hare and Midway, slammed the brakes on the Tuesday evening rush and prompted many schools and workplaces to close their doors early.

Airlines canceled more than 1,180 flights at O’Hare and Midway airports Tuesday, according to the city’s Department of Aviation.

Southwest Airlines canceled all flights out of Midway after 10 a.m., but was operating again by Tuesday evening with three-hour delays.

At O’Hare on Tuesday, a third to half the flights on the screens were blinking red — canceled. Security lines were short, made up of folks like Felice Porcelli, 22, who had checked their smartphones to make sure their flights were good to go.

“Mine’s on time,” said Porcelli, heading to Seattle.

But nine athletes from the University of Sioux Falls track team were bounced from a United flight to the national championships in Birmingham, Ala. But the airline got them spots on a Delta flight to Atlanta, and they planned to drive the rest of the way. “Hopefully we’ll get out of here and won’t have to spend the night,” assistant coach Reid Johnson said.

And at McCormick Place, it was a ghost town for the last day of the Housewares show. Ordinarily, “The place would be packed,” said Bruce Burrows of coffeemaker iCoffee. “There is no one left.”

Burrows said attendees panicked, worried that if they didn’t leave early Tuesday morning, they would have to stay in Chicago for another day or two to catch a flight home.

Contributing: Sandra Guy



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