"It has been snowing out here downtown, just about all day long," ABC7 Meteorologist Mike Caplan said. It ends tonight, but will be followed by bitter cold. "The same old story. Here we go again."
Temperatures drop below zero in some areas Wednesday evening and single digits are expected downtown. They won't go up much on Thursday. A Wind Chill Advisory goes into effect overnight for Kane County and expires at 10 a.m. Thursday.
Chicago saw more than seven inches in many areas, including 7.7 inches in Schaumburg. As of 4:30 p.m., 7 inches of snow fell at O'Hare Airport and 7.2 inches of snow fell at Midway Airport. Some schools in the area were closed on Wednesday due to the weather.
That snow led to slick roads and whiteout conditions. Illinois State Police urged motorists to reduce speed and allow for extra travel time. A travel warning was issued for I-55, I-80, and I-57.
"All of Cook County is snow-covered," said Illinois State Police District Chicago Sgt. Rodney Collins. "The roads are treacherous, but IDOT is out in full force with the salt trucks trying to fight it."
A jack-knifed semi closed down southbound I-55 north of Route 6 for about an hour and a half on Wednesday morning, and a crash involving several vehicles closed westbound I-80/94 closed from Indiana Toll Road to Ripley just before noon.
"It's just going to be a long ride in," driver Akwla Catlin said.
Flights canceled, Metra trains delayed
As of 3:30 p.m., airlines at O'Hare had canceled 500 flights due to winter weather conditions and were experiencing delays of at least 30 minutes, the city's Department of Aviation said. Midway was experiencing 15 minute delays due to icing issues, and 50 flights had been canceled at that airport.
About 2,100 flights were canceled nationwide as the storm moved east. Some airlines are offering passengers the chance to change their flight dates without a fee.
As for public transit, Metra delays were reported throughout the day, and the UP's North, Northwest and West llines were impacted by switching issues during the evening commute. Riders faced half-an-hour delays at Ogilvie.
The CTA had longer waits and delays due to some switching issues early Wednesday. Also an issue- the CTA bus tracker and CTA train tracker were down intermittently throughout the commute.
The latest round of snow and cold follows a brutal January that ranked as Chicago's 3rd snowiest and 10th coldest on record, the weather service said. Residents suffered through 33.7 inches of snow and a frigid average temperature of 15.7 degrees -- more than 8 degrees below normal.