Chicagoans enjoy first measurable snow

December 4, 2010 9:45:24 PM PST
Lake effect snow fell in some parts of the Chicago area Saturday night, hours after the first winter storm of the season, which was set a new record.

The snow showers, which dumped 5.1 inches in Chicago, came just as colder temperatures were about to set in, as well.

Illinois State Police report at least 40 crashes on Chicago-area expressways, though none was serious. Although officials said all Chicago city streets were clear Saturday night, they said it could be Sunday morning before all side streets are plowed.

"Even on a treated surface, pavement can still be slick, especially when the temperatures drop below freezing," said Tom Byrne, Chicago Streets and Sanitation commissioner.

Chicago Dept. of Streets and Sanitation deployed 175 snow-fighting trucks, about 60 percent of the total fleet.

Some area residents spent Saturday dusting off snow equipment and digging out from the first significant snowfall of the season.

The snow caused 40 minute delays, at one point, at Midway airport. At least 325 flights were canceled at O'Hare, leaving some passengers stuck.

"I flew in from Santa Fe, and the connecting flight was delayed. So, [I] spent a lot of time and decided to spend the night here," one man told ABC7.

Many residents, however, took the season's first real snowfall in stride.

"I feel we've been lucky we've lasted this long. So, I have no complaints," said Melina Luu.

"It's Chicago. It's great. I've got no qualms about this at all," said Casey Gorski.

"I was hoping it would come sooner, so I could get used to it, but what can we do? It's here now," said Wendy Spraggins. "It's beautiful, but it's kind of hectic."

Since many residents had the day off Saturday, they had plenty of time to shovel and scrape off snow. Alvion Williams tried making some extra money by clearing other people's driveways.

"Last night, I guess around 12, it started coming down hard. So, I was like, 'It's probably going to stick.' So, I was like, 'I'm going to get up early as I can and hit the streets over here,'" said Williams.

After shoveling and scraping, it was time to hit the sledding hills.

"It's great. It's fun. That's all I can think," said young Elion Luu.

"The fun lasted late into the night. Caldwell Woods on the city's Northwest Side, stayed open until 10 p.m.

Saturday's snow was the heavier, wetter variety, which is perfect for snowballs.

Siblings Joci Luu and her brother, Elion, spent the day making a snow man. Many other kids had the same idea.

"Woke up this morning and first snowfall of the year, and we have to get the kids some sleds and show them how to sled. Their first time, and they're having a great time, and hopefully, sleep well tonight," Sam Eadie told ABC7 Chicago.

Some residents said the weekend snow was a nice dress rehearsal for what will be more significant storms in the coming weeks.


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