Snow and ice blanket area; crashes abound

January 2, 2012 3:46:42 PM PST
The first snowfall of 2012 was a surprise to some as more snow fell than was expected.

The light coating of snow made for a messy drive on the expressways Monday morning because many drivers were caught off guard by Chicago's first real taste of winter weather.

Elsewhere, residents took it in stride.

" We were expected it for quite some time. It passed us when it hit Wisconsin, so we got lucky," said Chicago resident Nancy Gonzalez. "I'm grateful it's not a lot."

This coldest winter snap so far brought the familiar hum of snow blowers along with flurries and temperatures staying below freezing.

"Because of the weather, the sidewalk's warm, the snow is like slush, so it's heavy and hard to pick up." John M. Smith said.

The winter weather also came with ice, which created the hazardous driving conditions now blamed for a multi-car pile up on southbound Lake Shore Drive.

"I was coming around the curve on Lake Shore and there were three cars stopped, and then before you knew it, it was 10 cars," one woman told ABC7 Chicago.

No serious injuries were reported in the accident.

Drifting snow and ice-covered roadways also caused at least 25 crashes on Cook County expressways , especially at stop lights at the bottom of exit ramps, State Police District Chicago Master Sgt. Jason LoCoco said. No injuries were reported

Chicago Streets and Sanitation Department dispatched its 183 snow fighting trucks to patrol the city's main route, which experience lighter traffic volume because of the holiday.

"This whole New Year's weekend, we've been diligent," Streets and Sanitation Cmsr. Tom Bryne. "Obviously, anything can happen out there very quickly."

The Chicago-area tollways and area expressways had their share of problems, too -- mostly icy ramps.

Meanwhile, many chose to embrace the winter blast as more cold weather is expected to follow the snow.

People will tell you wind chills in the single digits are making the Michigan Avenue bridge over the Chicago River one of the coldest places in town.

"You're fully exposed. It's crazy, crazy cold Jared Moss," said.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire - Copyright Chicago Sun-Times 2011.)