Chicago area braces for winter storm

February 9, 2010 3:47:23 AM PST
A winter storm warning is in effect for the Chicago Area. It's the same storm that snarled the commute in Minnesota Monday evening and created near white outs in parts of Iowa, Missouri and Kansas.

The snow was just starting to make its way into the Chicago area Monday night.

Travelers may be tempted to wait this storm out. The next three rush hours may be slowed by the snow. And airlines were already canceling flights Monday night. Check your flight status.

The storm has been well forecast and people are getting prepared. It will affect Chicago-area commuters on the road and in the air Tuesday.

The storm was still en route to Chicago Monday night, but has already affected flight plans. O'Hare is canceling 200 flights scheduled for Tuesday and at Midway, Southwest Airlines is canceling all flights from Tuesday to Wednesday morning.

From the skies to the roads, plans have been made to lessen the impact the storm will have on the commute. The city will have its full fleet of 360 trucks ready to clear interstates and arterial roadways. Drivers are advised to take extra precautions.

"If you do have to drive, you know, take a couple of extra minutes tonight. Make sure your wind shield wiper fluid is filled, make sure your wipers are working properly, check your tires," said Marisa Kollias, IDOT spokesperson.

On Monday, officials gathered at the Office of Emergency Management to discuss how their departments are prepared for the nearly 10 inches of snow expected to fall by Wednesday.

"We will be using all our technology and snow command to monitor the weather as we see so we can call to deploy trucks to those areas," said Thomas Byrne, Streets and Sanitation commissioner.

In Elmhurst Monday night, residents were getting mentally prepared for the storm.

"I'm used to Chicago, no change for me. Been here all my life and I wouldn't leave it anyways" said Gian Pecoraro.

"Waiting for the busy when's it's snowing and cold is no joke. So I am not ready for it," said Dominique Smith.

"I'm a Pace bus driver and I definitely don't like to drive in that type of weather but,you know, it is all in God's hands, so we have to go with the flow," said Verlinda Spiller.

Once the snow is underway, the Department of Streets and Sanitation is prepared to dispatch its full fleet of more than 270 trucks to clear and salt the roads.