Chicago Weather: Winter storm dumps on city, suburbs

Republican political consultant Dan Curry was injured Wednesday morning after he was hit by falling ice in the Loop.
March 12, 2014 8:24:10 PM PDT
A late winter storm dumped more than 5 inches of snow in the Chicago area, causing scattered power outages and creating headaches for commuters.

"This was a heavier snow," ABC7 Mike Caplan said. "It had a lot more water content in it than much of the snow we've had all season."

And, there's been a lot of snow this season. This last round made the current, 12-month season the second and third snowiest at Midway and O'Hare international airports, respectively. Chicago's official snow totals are taken at O'Hare. With 3.6 inches falling at O'Hare, the season's total is at 79.1 inches of snow. At Midway, where 6 inches fell, a total of 84.4 inches has fallen this season.

Beware falling ice

Falling ice is the latest problem triggered by this endless winter. Several people have been hurt, including a man struck in the head while walking in the Loop. The wet, heavy snow that piled up overnight is partly to blame.

Thousands without electricity

About 50,000 ComEd customers experienced power outages Wednesday as a result of heavy snow and high winds, spokeswoman Martha Arendt said. The outages are largely focused in the southern regions, although scattered outages have been reported throughout the utility's coverage area. She said ComEd was anticipating problems caused by the storm and has additional crews working to resolve the issues.

By 9 p.m. Wednesday, 3,000 customers remained without power, ComEd said. In Homewood, thousands of people were without service for most of the day and a downed power line closed about a mile of busy Halsted Street.

Instead of helping customers, James Baik at Roberto's Menswear spent the day on paperwork.

"We have a few customers in the morning, but they cannot use the credit card machine. They cannot see the merchandise, either," Baik said.

"A lot of businesses are out of power here along Halsted, major businesses. It affects our commerce and everything else, and the people who work there are not able to do their jobs. And it's a financial burden, also, on the village," John Schaefer, the director of public works for the Village of Homewood, said.

Classes were canceled for students in Flossmoor School District 161 because the schools are without power. Hundreds of homeowners are in the dark, as well.

Another 17,000 residents are also without power in central Illinois where several inches of snow fell.

Flight cancellations, messy morning commute

At O'Hare International Airport, airlines have canceled more than 730 flights as of 9 p.m. and delays are up to 45 minutes, according to the city's Department of Aviation. At Midway, about 85 flights have been canceled, and 20 minutes delays as of 9 p.m.

The brunt of the storm, which included thundersnow, struck overnight and has moved out of the area. At times, snow fell at the rate of 2 to 3 inches per hour, and visibility on the roads was low.

About 50 weather-related crashes and reports of cars in ditches were logged from midnight until 4:20 a.m. Wednesday in the four Illinois State Police districts that cover the city and area suburbs, state police said. No serious injuries were reported in any of the crashes.

Chicago's full fleet of snow removal trucks were out on the main streets and Lake Shore Drive. IDOT and Illinois Tollway officials also cleared roads.

The winter storm followed a balmy 50-degree Monday. Springlike temperatures won't return until Friday with mid- to upper-40s.


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