Snow expected to snarl morning commute

February 23, 2012 8:53:08 PM PST
A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect in the Chicago area until 9 a.m. Friday, with up to a half foot of snow expected in some places.

"In the city we're not going to get creamed by any stretch of the imagination but we'll probably pick up a couple of inches and certainly areas to the north and northwest will pick up more. So, yes we will get some snow," said ABC7 meteorologist Jerry Taft.

According to the National Weather Service in Chicago, rain was expected to change into snow Thursday evening. The bulk of it will blanket the northern parts of Lake and Porter counties in Northwest Indiana, and the snow should taper off further south.

The conditions could lead to thundersnow, which means a greater accumulation in some areas.

Officials said the snow may fall at rates greater than an inch an hour overnight, which means drivers should pay careful attention to slick roads and potentially hazardous travel conditions during Friday's commute.

Wet snow in northwest suburbs

When Debbie Bertolami of Hoffman Estates took the train to work Thursday morning, the skies were clear. By Thursday night she had to scrape the snow off her car windows.

"I was telling my daughter, it's kind of scary, winter hasn't been as harsh as it's always been," Bertolami told ABC7.

The heavy, wet snow provided much-needed work for plow truck drivers, who have had little to do for most of the winter.

Plow truck driver Tom Tanner says by this time last year he had been out more than 30 times. So far this year it's seven.

"We're hoping for a nice, long night," Tanner said. "It's been a slow season for us this year. We haven't gotten the snow that the weather forecasters have been calling for."

The snow held off for the evening rush hour but Friday morning's commute is likely to be a different story. The Illinois Department of Transportation had all hands on deck as they tried to keep the roads clear Thursday night.

"We think the worst of the snow is going to be coming overnight when the temperatures drop," said Mike Claffey, IDOT spokesperson. "And we're going to have extra crews out overnight to prepare for the morning rush."

On a much installer scale, Dave Meier was outside his house cleaning the sidewalks early Thursday evening evening.

"I'll be out here all night probably," he said.

Tollway officials told ABC7 they planned to have all of their available equipment out Thursday night to stay ahead of the snow. They urge commuters to take public transportation if possible.

Snowy scene in north suburbs

Snow blanketed Lake Bluff Thursday night, creating a picturesque scene in the north suburb.

"It's a nice change," said Kristin Mikrut, resident. "We're definitely lacking in the winter department. So it was nice to look out the window and see white for a change."

The wet, slushy snow caught some residents off guard.

"I thought I should have worn some difficult clothes coming home tonight. But it's kind of nice, just don't want to slip on the way home," said Avery Robbins, who was sporting leather loafers. "I think it's awesome. We've been waiting for it for a long time."

"I was surprised. All the rain down in the city and then coming up here as I was looking out the window I thought, oh, my God, it's starting to snow," said Merrill Henry. "But it's all good. We need it."

"When the snow first initially started, that's when the big flakes were coming. And now it's kind of dwindling. But I'm sure we're going to get a lot of lake-effect snow," said Reeve Lanham.