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Commute times climb as more snow falls

Loop workers endured another snowy morning commute as an estimated 2-3 inches fell Wednesday morning. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

Loop workers endured another snowy morning commute as an estimated 2-3 inches fell Wednesday morning. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

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Updated: March 5, 2014 9:26AM



Weary commuters endured yet another grueling rush hour Wednesday morning as a fresh blanket of snow descended upon Chicago just in time for the trip to work.

The snow also threatened to bump this wintry season even higher into the record books.

Between two and three inches of snow was expected to fall Wednesday morning, creating low visibility and slick road conditions for drivers. Travel times soared on most area roadways.

By now, commuters all know the drill.

“Leave early if you can,” National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Bardou warned. “The heart of the snow is going to fall during rush hour.”

And lighter snowfall is expected to continue through the afternoon.

Seventy-four inches of snow has fallen at O’Hare international Airport since July 1, which is when the National Weather Service starts recording snowfall data. With more expected by day’s end, Chicago could surpass its third snowiest 12-month period recorded in 1969-1970, which saw 77 inches, the weather service said.

Chicago’s snowiest 12-month period was in 1977-1978, with 89.7 inches of snow, said meteorologist Stephen Rodriguez.

The meteorological winter of 2013-2014, which lasted from Dec. 1 until Feb. 28, already holds the record for third-snowiest with 67.4 inches, according to the weather service.

For now, a winter weather advisory is in effect until noon, with the weather service warning that snow could accumulate at a rate of a half-inch per hour. Visibility will be below a mile, Bardou said.

The Department of Streets and Sanitation deployed 280 snowplows and salt spreaders to main streets and Lake Shore Drive, according to a release from spokeswoman Molly Poppe. Plows will focus on clearing arterial routes first before moving on to neighborhood streets after the snow stops falling.

More than 100 flights were canceled at O’Hare because of the weather conditions as of 7:30 a.m. Meanwhile, there were no reported delays at Midway Airport.

Snow will continue to linger in the afternoon before moving south, Bardou said. Wednesday’s high temperature is expected to be around 20 degrees with the low sitting around 10 degrees, Bardou added.



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