Snow slows traffic, cancels flights

January 12, 2011 4:53:05 AM PST
Snow continued to fall across the Chicago area Tuesday afternoon, tying up traffic and canceling hundreds flights at Chicago's airports.

A winter weather advisory was in effect until 8 p.m. Tuesday and included Lake, DuPage, Cook, Will and Kankakee counties in Illinois and Lake County, Ind., as well as parts of Wisconsin. As much as six inches were expected to fall in some places, according to the National Weather Service.

Get the latest conditions at ABC7's Weather Center

At 6 p.m., the Chicago area had seen 3 to 6 inches of snow. The city started clearing streets before daybreak Tuesday morning and is adding additional snow removal vehicles in time for the afternoon rush hour.

"We're pulling our garbage trucks, and we're going to pull some garbage trucks in early off the street and we're going to get them on the street prior to rush hour to get a good shot at keeping the mains clear for the evening rush," said Thomas Byrne, Streets and Sanitation.

For commuters, the drive during the morning and early afternoon hours wasn't too bad as road crews were able to keep up with the snow.

"The roads were fine, just wet. We came from Elk Grove and we had no problems at all," said Stu Greenberg.

"It wasn't too bad, but I came in a couple of hours ago. I wasn't much of a difference," said DePaul student Amanda Bailey.

Secondary streets will likely remain snow-covered as the city planned to focus on main roadways first.

As the snow continued to fall and traffic increased at rush hour, commuters were told to expect some significant delays on area roads and expressways.

"Be patient. Stay away from our trucks the best you can, and just be safe. It will probably be a long ride home tonight," said Byrne.

With snow amounts of 3 to 6 inches in the city, shoveling was not all that easy. But since the snow was relatively dry, it's not too hard to move around.

"It's pretty light," said Tyrone Oby, who was out shoveling. "I just want to get it before it gets too deep and get heavy."

The city planned to send out 275 trucks out through the evening rush, but they were going to operate mainly on primary roads like Lake Shore Drive.

In northwest Indiana, an accident involving a semi backed up traffic on I-65 at 109th Street for miles earlier Tuesday. Authorities are encouraging people who do not have to drive to stay off the streets.

Lake-effect snow was still falling in northwest Indiana late Tuesday night. A lake-effect snow warning remains in effect there until Wednesday afternoon.

Some parts of Indiana could get up to 10 inches of snow.

The snow made area highways including the Edens slick, but there were no reports of major accidents.

Hundreds of flight delays and cancelations were reported at Chicago's airports. O'Hare International Airport reported delays of an hour and more than 500 flight cancelations. At Midway, 40 flights were canceled and delays were averaging about 45 minutes late Tuesday night.

The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) had its full fleet of snow removal equipment working around the clock to combat the weather conditions.

Passengers should call ahead to check on their flights or use the ABC7ToGo Flight Tracker. The CDA recommends travelers arrive at the airport two hours ahead of their scheduled flight or even earlier considering the conditions.