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Lake-effect snow could snarl trains, Metra warns

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Updated: February 22, 2014 6:19AM

With a lake-effect snow warning in effect until 9 a.m. Metra warned riders to allow extra travel time Tuesday morning.

“Unfortunately, weather conditions beyond our control will create unanticipated delays or service disruptions,” Metra wrote in an alert on its website. “Depending on the severity of conditions in specific areas, your train may experience delays.”

As of 7 a.m., however, Metra reported only one train with minor delays.

It’s not a polar vortex — but that’s cold comfort to Chicagoans bundling up to face subzero wind chills this week.

When the lake-effect system finally moves out, the lakefront, southeast Cook County and the northern portions of Lake and Porter counties in Indiana could see from 6 to 12 inches of snow. Will County east of Interstate 57 could get 3 to 6 inches of snow, the National WEather Service.

A warning covering northwest Indiana remains in effect until noon. Travel in those areas is “strongly discouraged,” while the snow is falling because visibility could drop to near zero, according to the weather service.

The city’s full fleet of 287 snow plows and salt spreaders was deployed Monday night and will continue to clear main roads on Tuesday, said Molly Poppe, spokeswoman for the Department of Streets and Sanitation.

Temperatures will continue to slide Tuesday, when a cold front will bring high temperatures ranging from 8 to 12 degrees, the weather service said. Wind-chill temperatures could drop to 10 to 20 below zero.

Tuesday night’s lows could range from minus 1 to minus 5 and will feel as cold as 25 below overnight with the wind chill. Temperatures won’t break the 20-degree mark until Friday, forecasters say.

Temperatures on Wednesday and Thursday will be near zero and wind chills as cold as minus 20 to 25 degrees are forecast, meteorologists said.

By Friday, highs in the area are expected to climb to 24 degrees, falling to 15 at night, forecasts show.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart activated the jail’s 24-hour weather hotline. Relatives of inmates can call (773) 674-6618 for information on posting bond and arranging a discharge, his office said in a news release. Detainees who are homeless or do not have transportation may postpone their discharge.


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