Chicago Weather: More snow forecast as city plows tackle side streets

ByABC7 Chicago Team Coverage WLS logo
Tuesday, February 3, 2015
More snow falls as city plows tackle side streets
Snow fell Tuesday afternoon across the Chicago area, slowing commuters and adding to the mess that Sunday's blizzard left behind.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Snow fell Tuesday afternoon across the Chicago area, slowing commuters and adding to the mess that Sunday's blizzard left behind. After addressing snow on the city's arterial routes, over 240 snow plows and salt spreaders were deployed back to neighborhood residential streets Tuesday evening, the city's Dept. of Streets and Sanitation said.

The quick-moving system brought traffic to a crawl during the evening rush hour with reduced visibility and slick spots. Most of the Chicago area saw only an inch or two of snow, but it was enough to snarl traffic.

Meanwhile, the far south suburbs are expected to see about 1 inch of snow Wednesday late morning into early afternoon. That'll be followed by subzero temperatures Thursday morning.

Airlines are doing their best to get flights back on schedule at O'Hare and Midway airports after the weekend blizzard. More than 175 flights have been canceled at O'Hare on Tuesday, and a dozen flights were canceled at Midway.


Crews with the City Department of Transportation (CDOT) are focusing on Chicago side streets, working to clear the heavy and tightly-packed snow from neighborhood roads. Officials said city plows reached nearly 90-percent of the side streets with at least one pass since Monday morning, but many are frustrated at what they say is the city's lack of attention to the side streets.

"My kids didn't go to school today because I couldn't get out and nobody come plow the streets. I don't know what to do," said Jeremy Taylor.

It's a tough job for sure, since Chicago has more than 3,000 miles of side streets. Even with over 350 salt plows and trucks working overtime, it's going to take a while.

"Bear with us, cause it's a lot of snow," said Leon Lipsey, Streets & Sanitation worker.

Lipsey has not gotten much sleep over the last few days. Every day before heading out he's assigned a main route and a neighborhood route. The neighborhood route is prioritized according to what they call "vital streets" - those with schools, hospitals, fire stations and senior housing on it. After that, the rest of the streets on the route are tackled.

"We have to stay focused. Kids getting out of school. People going to work. We have to stay alert at all times," Lipsey said.

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The city said it adjusted its snow removal fleet overnight, giving teams around four hours to rest. About 300 snow removal trucks were sent out again around 3 a.m. Tuesday. Officials assure residents that crews are working overtime, but it typically takes around two or three days after a big winter storm to clear Chicago's side streets.

To track the plows in real time, visit

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Monday was a snow day for many, but single-digit temperatures and subzero wind chills Tuesday morning made for a treacherous return to work and school.

Many students at Woodson Middle School on Chicago's South Side opted to walk in the street because city sidewalks were still covered by snow from Sunday's blizzard.

"Everybody's walking in the street," said Moiche Crawford, a Woodson Middle School parent. "Kids and adults. There's nowhere else to walk."

"I think it should really be cleared because it's kind of a hassle to get to school," said Woodson student Reggy Wiley.

The drive was no less dangerous; cars got stuck, as did school buses, causing some major backups.

"I came down and got stuck," said bus driver Eric Vann. "I was trying to dodge every single route I could, but I got stuck."

There were several plows on the streets during the morning rush, but they only put down salt. One plow driver said the snow is too packed down for the plow's blade to be effective.