Snowstorm could dump up to 8 inches on Chicago area
BY LEEANN SHELTON Staff Reporter December 31, 2013 7:39PM
Updated: December 31, 2013 10:15PM
A snowstorm that started Tuesday afternoon — just in time for New Year’s Eve celebrations — could bring up to 8 inches of snow before it ends.
A winter weather advisory is in effect until 6 p.m. Wednesday for all Chicago area counties; areas around Rockford and DeKalb, and northwest Indiana, according to the National Weather Service.
The snow started to pile up at a steady pace Tuesday evening. An overnight lull is expected before a heavier burst of snow Wednesday morning, the weather service said.
In downtown Chicago, more than 2 inches of snow had fallen as of about 8:20 p.m. Tuesday, and more was on the way.
Evanston has seen about 3.6 inches of snow so far, the weather service reported.
In Elk Grove Village, the snow was about 3.2 inches deep; St. Charles had 2.3 inches of snow, and McHenry recorded 3.5 inches.
The snow prompted airlines at O’Hare Airport to cancel 150 flights Tuesday. Travelers there were seeing 20 minute delays, while airlines at Midway Airport are running about 30 minutes behind schedule. No major cancellations were reported at Midway.
The northern portions of Lake and Porter counties in northwest Indiana could also see 6 to 8 inches of snow.
Kendall and Will Counties and areas farther south of the lake in northwest Indiana will get 4 to 6 inches of snow, according to forecasters.
The Illinois Tollway sent its fleet of 182 snowplows onto the roads by 4 p.m. Drivers are urged to slow down and leave more space between vehicles, the agency said in a news release.
Drivers on the road for the holiday between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. can get a free cup of coffee at all seven tollway oases, the release said.
By Wednesday evening, 6 to 8 inches of snow could cover most of the city, all of Lake and DuPage counties and most of Kane and McHenry counties, according to the weather service.
Snow is expected to taper off Wednesday evening, but then the lake-effect snow watch goes into effect from late Wednesday into Thursday, affecting Cook and Lake counties in Illinois, and Lake County in Indiana, according to the weather service.
That will mean more accumulating snow, and intense localized squalls could bring more than 6 inches of snow to some areas, and snowfall rates could exceed inch an hour, the weather service said.
Drivers should be prepared for snow-covered roads, limited visibility and difficult travel through the New Year’s holiday, the weather service said.
Though the storm will be fairly “run-of-the-mill” by Chicago standards, drivers should double-check that they have emergency supplies in their vehicles.
Motorists should make sure gas tanks are full and stock vehicles with a flashlight, gloves, other warm clothes, a shovel and a candle for warmth.
“Anytime you’re driving in the winter, especially in outlying areas, you should always have a winter survival kit in the car,” National Weather Service meteorologist Gino Izzi said.
New Year’s Day will see highs in the lower 20s and overnight lows of 16, the weather service said.
The high temperature Thursday is projected to be in the low 20s, but the lows will hover around zero in the city. Parts of northwest Cook County could be 10 degrees below zero, with wind-chill values between minus 10 and 20 degrees.
“And that might be on the warm side,” National Weather Service meteorologist Jamie Enderlen said.