Steady snowfall pounds Chicago area

February 9, 2010 9:20:09 PM PST
The snow just keeps coming, whipping up dangerous conditions for drivers.The winter storm warning is in effect until 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Drivers have made it through two snowy commutes, but there's still one more to go. And Tuesday night some residents found out just how dangerous conditions can be. Roads were slick causing some drivers to lose control.

Travelers eager to leave the storm behind found themselves grounded. Hundreds of flights were cancelled Tuesday.

And thousands of students won't be going anywhere on Wednesday. Many schools are closed for a second day. Click here to see a list of school closings

Storm hits Lake County hard

Lake County bore the brunt of the storm Tuesday.

With snow coming down at the rate of nearly an inch an hour at times Tuesday night in Lake County, it was tough to keep the roads clear but IDOT crews were doing their best and the expressways, for the most part, were in good shape Tuesday night.

"Days like this are a little tought but we're Chicagoans, we deal with it," said Justin Glover.

"We don't have a choice...we have to go to work," said Emilio Silva.

Away from the expressways, however, many other streets were more treacherous. One driver on Rockland Road in Lake Forest Tuesday night was unable to stay on the road and ended up in the ditch. Many drives decided to stay off the roads entirely and opted for public transportation. A Metra ad read, "Yes, Metra was an option today."

"I drive virtually every day but with the weather conditions I thought it would be more sensible to take the train," said Dave Blowers.

"The trains seem to be running on time. It really was the best option given the weather," said Laura Hall.

When the commuters got back to their cars, however, they still had to dig out or sweep off, as the case may be. The nearly foot of snow meant more work once they get home.

Leann Lyden was stuck with the shovel since the snow blower ran out of gas.

"It took me about an hour to do the front part," said Lyden.

Police have enacted their emergency snow plan. That means drivers on the interstates involved in accidents where no injuries are involved should contact police within the next 10 days since police are too busy with more serious issues.

City crews work to clear streets

Crews in the city of Chicago focused on the main streets Tuesday night to make sure they're clear for the morning. That means side streets will have to wait a while.

The snow didn't let up all day. Its gentle pace seemed to give city crews a chance to keep up and to get Chicagoans used to the idea that the snow is going to be with us for a while.

"I think it was more prepared this time then it has been. I saw the streets were cleaner sooner," said Juana Mina, motorist.

"Anytime you're driving down side streets it's going to be real bad because they don't have the resourcesand the salt," said Javier Rodriguez, motorist.

CTA commuters found even more company on the way home Tuesday night.

"There were a lot tonight. People were definitely standing," said Linda Zuro, CTA rider.

Chicagoans find ways to move about in the snow. Vernita Robinson's car was started and already warming up, thanks to a new gadget.

"I actually just got this remote starter just this year, maybe a month or two ago, for the snow," said Robinson.

And it was a good day to own a snow blower.

Residents did their best to keep up with snow removal. One four-year-old was getting the hang of it while clearing snow off the parkway.

As Tuesday ends, many Chicago-area residents wonder what Wednesday will bring?

"We're taking one rush hour at a time. We want to make sure this rush hour is as clean as we can get it and then we're to work through the night to make sure we have a good rush hour tomorrow," said Tom Byrne, Chicago Streets & Sanitation.

The CTA's snow fighter was standing by Tuesday night. The heavy duty engine clears tracks of two feet of snow.

"If needed, the snow fighter locomotives will be activated to keep the tracks clear of ice and snow. Snow fighters have a snowblower on one end and a rotating broom on the other and are designed to clear tracks during severe snow weather," said Richard Rodriguez, CTA president.

The city has all of its crew out working. Officials recommend commuters leave extra time and be very cautious through Wednesday.

It was a rough day at both of Chicago's airports, where hundreds of flights were cancelled due to the storm. At Midway, Southwest cancelled all flights from 10 a.m. Tuesday until 10 a.m. Wednesday. O'Hare is a different story where travelers are still getting out. Check your flight before you head to either airport.

Heavy snow falls in NW Indiana

Northwest Indiana is getting its share of heavy snow Tuesday night.

The snow has been falling continuously in all parts of Indiana. It is making it difficult for drivers to maneuver their vehicles. All the way from Gary to Michigan City, the snow keeps coming down.

"There is snow coming down. It is a wet snow, and it's a fine snow and the roads are covered and slick," said Angela Fegaras, Indiana Department of Transportation.

Snowplows are clearing the streets and highways. Fegaras says they have plenty of salt to do the job. She says strong winds are expected to complicate matters.

"All the trucks are running their routes. Something we are concerned about is that the winds will pick up and there could be blowing and drifting snow, so even if a plow goes through, the wins could blow and make a drift or icy spots in the road. We ask that the drivers do slow down," said Fegaras.

Some schools in La Porte and Michigan City were forced to close down. A couple of schools are closed because of the weather, and especially because of the winds starting to blow Tuesday afternoon.

INDOT has a message for commuters.

"Slow down. Drive according to conditions. If you see a snowplow, give them room to put down material on the road way," said Fegaras.

John Davis of Michigan City says he drives for a living and the weather is really not bad for this time of year.

"I have been all the way over to Warsaw and back this way. This is as bad as it has gotten. There is very little snow on the ground any place, a couple of inches," said Davis.