Chicago area blasted by snow, sleet

December 19, 2008 4:59:45 PM PST
City crews are taking to the slick side streets while those in the suburbs continue to dig out from heavy snow and ice.Suburbs dig out after snow, ice

The winter storm dumped heavy snow in the northern suburbs and a thick layer of ice in the southern suburbs overnight into Friday morning.

The storm led to snow days for some schools, delayed flights and a cold morning commute. Highland Park was hit hard with snow, but many residents said it could have been worse.

Don Brown was busy shoveling down the snow row left behind by a plow.

"I would rather have snow rather than freezing rain and, with snow you can get rid of it. Ice is hard to get rid of," said Brown.

In Lake Zurich, those who keep the streets clear were also glad for the powdery stuff. Mike Brown's crews moved up to 11 inches of snow during the storm.

"An ice storm can put you out of business. Power lines go out. Everything. But I was very happy to see the ice stay south of here," said Mike Brown

Lake Zurich -- like so many other municipalities-- is watching its snow removal budget closely. Overtime to pre-salt roads ahead of a major storm is approved sparingly.

"It changes our operations where we're used to pavement. We're getting bare pavement. After every storm and we're cutting back and it's more traction. You can't afford to use the salt like we have in the past," said Brown.

The refrain is heard around the northern suburbs where the relief at avoiding the worst of an ice storm was clear. Evanston got about five inches of snow -- not nearly enough, given what was expected, to make this last day before the holidays a snow day for students.

"And I think our roads were plowed. And it was a safe way for students to get to school today. And also an inconvenience I think at times with parents have last-minute notice that there's no school and they have to go to work that day and also an issue there. So I fool having the students in school is safe for them and also great for their education not to miss a day," said Beatrice Davis, Kingsley Elementary School principal.

Flights canceled, delayed at airports

The snowstorm was responsible for more than 300 flight cancellations at O'Hare International Airport and about 50 flights at Midway Airport.

Hundreds of passengers waited the storm out Friday at O'Hare as crews worked to clear runways of slushy snow.

For flights that weren't cancelled, high winds and poor visibility contributed to an average delay of about two hours. The department of aviation said it would take the majority of the day to get back on track.

Passengers are urged to check with their airlines.


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