Chicago no-snow streak ends at 335 days with 1.1"

January 25, 2013 4:20:37 PM PST
More than one inch of snow fell Friday morning, ending Chicago's no-snow streak and disrupting the commute.

The snow comes after a record 335 days without measureable snow, which is defined as an inch or more in a calendar day. At the official measuring spot at O'Hare, 1.1 inches fell by 9:30 a.m. Friday. Not a lot, but enough to make mess of area roads.

The previous record stretch without a one-inch snowfall was 319 days, ending on January 6, 1940. This is also the latest we've ever gone into winter before having a 1" snowfall. The previous record for latest 1" snowfall in the city was January 17, 1899.

The Friday afternoon rush moved at its usual sluggish pace after the snow.

In the morning travel became next to impossible as motorists unused to winter driving hit the roads.

Dozens of spinouts and wrecks were reported on area interstates, including an eight-car crash on the Kennedy Expressway near Armitage that closed all inbound lanes. The city put an emergency snow plan in effect, which means drivers involved in crashes without injuries should exchange information, continue on to their destinations, and call police later.

"I think it was really horrible. I didn't expect snow," cab driver Guisela Ngnegani said.

To combat slick roads, the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation deployed 199 plows into the city's main streets and Lake Shore Drive.

The plows quickly cleared and salted both the main and side streets.

Find out where the city crews are at work at Drivers are warned to be cautious.

"This afternoon there may be a few lingering light snow showers," said ABC7 meteorologist Tracy Butler.

In Indiana, LaPorte County had nearly 150 plows out district-wide, tackling the snow and ice. Slick conditions and hard-pack snow and ice were reported in parts of Lake County, but most of the main roads (I-80/94 and I-65) were looking good. right now. Lake County als had plows out.

Some Indiana accidents and slide-offs were reported on the heavy-traffic volume interstates.

The next storm looks particularly problematic for Sunday. As warm air overruns cold air near the surface, freezing rain is likely to be the dominant precipitation type for several hours. This could lead to significant icing. As temperatures steadily climb above freezing Sunday night into Monday, the precipitation will change to rain and the ice will quickly melt. Still, travel will be hazardous for many hours Sunday into perhaps early Monday morning with the ice lasting longest over the northern suburbs.