Chicago Weather: Cleanup continues after blizzard dumps on Chicago

ByABC7 Chicago WLS logo
Tuesday, February 3, 2015
City, suburbs still digging out after blizzard
Residents in the city and suburbs are digging out the day after a blizzard struck the Chicago area.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Residents are digging out the day after a blizzard struck the Chicago area, dumping over 19 inches of snow, knocking out power to thousands, causing travel headaches and closing schools for thousands of students. School will resume on Tuesday for CPS students.

WATCH: ABC7 First Alert Forecast

PHOTOS: Chicago Blizzard dumps 19 inches of snow on area


The Chicago Department of Transportation has its full fleet of snow plows, salt trucks and other heavy equipment out in full force. After clearing the main arteries, CDOT is now working to clear the neighborhood streets.

"The equipment from Streets and Sanitation moved to the residential streets this morning, moving both the equipment as well as the salt spreaders to make sure our residential streets are plowed and passable," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Chicago's Street and Sanitation Dept. said Monday evening that around 80 percent of the city's side streets have been plowed with at least one pass. The city says its full fleet of plows will stay on the streets throughout the night and overnight.

In the meantime, neighbors are pitching in.

"These side streets, it's like quicksand. Nobody can get in, nobody can get out," said Christopher Fitak, a Marquette Park resident.

City crews will not plow the alleys to avoid blocking people inside their garages. To track the plows in real time, visit


Slick roads may be to blame for a major pileup Monday morning on the Tri-State Tollway in Hickory Hills.

Drivers are urged to reduce speed, be patient and keep their distance from other vehicles on highways and local roads. Illinois State Police are operating on an emergency snow plan where minor accidents without injuries should be reported at a later date.

"We are seeing some spin outs and accidents all over the six-county district in both the urban and rural areas. Many times this is due to motorists driving too fast and it's also due to blowing and drifting snow," Carson Quinn, IDOT, said.

The Illinois Department of Transportation's full fleet is working around the clock, officials said.

"Even though we've plowed multiple times, due to blowing, the snow comes right back on the road. So, we are out there continuously to try and get it off the road, more so," Quinn said.

"It was impassible in some places. A couple of spin-outs, accidents everywhere," driver Ralph Cremeans said.

"Nothing's going to move on ice. So if you get stuck, you get stuck. It doesn't matter. I've got 80,000 pounds on there and I still get stuck," Eddie Wrenn, truck driver, said.


CTA train and bus passengers should allow for extra travel time. While CTA buses that were rerouted during the height of the storm have returned to Lake Shore Drive, the snowy streets are impacting the morning commute. James Deane waited for CTA Bus No. 151 for at least half an hour.

"I'd like to a little warmer. [I'd] like to be able to ride my bike to work instead of having to wait for the bus. But a little snow is not going to kill me," Deane said.

For up-to-date information on CTA buses and trains, visit

Metra is under a weather advisory. Trains are experiencing delays on the Union Pacific North, Union Pacific Northwest, Union Pacific West, BNSF Railway, Rock Island District and Metra Electric District lines. For real-time service alerts, visit

Amtrak service is canceled between Chicago and Quincy because blowing snow shutdown part of the route. Greyhound passengers are advised to call ahead after all service in and out of Chicago on Sunday was canceled. That affected service in cities from Indianapolis to Boston and Montreal. Greyhound officials said they are not sure when service will resume.

Flight cancellations continue Monday with about 1,060 at O'Hare International Airport and about 195 at Midway International Airport. On Sunday, about 1,300 flights were canceled at O'Hare and 305 were canceled at Midway.

Sunday's winter storm also knocked out power to more than 54,000 ComEd customers. About 841 remain without power as of 4 p.m. Monday.

Pedestrians and bike riders are advised to stay off Chicago's lakefront trail. Coast Guard officials said it typically takes a day or two for high waves on Lake Michigan to calm down after a storm of this size.


SCHOOL CLOSURES: Full list of closures

Chicago Public Schools and many suburban districts canceled classes on Monday. CPS officials announced Monday afternoon that classes will be session on Tuesday.

Eleven YMCA of Metro Chicago locations are offering child care programs for children who do not have school on Monday. Find the YMCA location offering the Y's School Days Out program closest to you at

Chicago's museums are open on Monday, and two are offering free admission. Children ages 3 to 11 can get in free at the Museum of Science and Industry with a voucher from The Field Museum is free for all Illinois residents on Monday. The Shedd Aquarium is also open.

All City Colleges of Chicago facilities will be closed on Monday and are expected to reopen on Tuesday.

Northwestern University is open in Evanston and in Chicago. Shuttle bus and SafeRide services will also be running as close to schedule as possible. For updates, visit

Indiana University Northwest's Gary and Portage campuses opened at noon on Monday.


This winter storm ranks as one of the top five snow storms in city history. A total of 19.3 inches of snow were measured at O'Hare at 6 a.m. Monday. About 19.2 inches of snow fell at Midway overnight. Northwest Indiana saw more than a foot of snow in most areas.

For snow plow driver Jerry Granger, the blizzard is a welcome sign of winter.

"This is not snow. This is money. And this is money from heaven," Granger said. "When everybody else is griping, I'm happy. So they say one man's trash is another man's treasure. This is my treasure."

WATCH: Time lapse video of snowfall in the Chicago area


Bitter cold settled in over the Chicago area after the blizzard. Temperatures fell into the single digits and wind chills are below zero, according to ABC7 Meteorologist Tracy Butler.

Some lake-effect snow is falling, and could lead to 1 to 3 inches of accumulation on Monday. However, the next round of snow isn't expected until Tuesday afternoon and evening, when 1 to 3 inches is expected.

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