Chicago weather forecast: Delays at O'Hare as winter storm moves through area

Even colder, snowier system could hit Chicago area on Friday

Wednesday, January 10, 2024
Snow, rain cause delays and cancellations at Chicago airports
Chicago snow and rain caused Midway and O'Hare delays and cancellations on Tuesday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A winter storm is bringing a mix of wet, sloppy snow to the Chicago area, making roads slick.

Several inches of snow fell Tuesday morning as the first round of snow moved in overnight.

A second round moved into the Chicago area on Tuesday afternoon, making conditions slushy and sloppy with an additional mix of rain and snow.

Snow will diminish into the evening, but windy conditions will continue. Areas to the north and west were expected to get an additional 4 to 7 inches of snow, whereas areas in and around the city were expected to see an additional 1 to 2 inches of snow.

Snow totals reported as of 10 p.m.:

  • Wayne: 6.3 inches
  • DeKalb: 6 inches
  • Campton Hills: 5.5 inches
  • Elburn: 5 inches
  • Hampshire: 5 inches
  • O'Hare: 3.2 inches
  • Midway: 3.8 inches
  • Romeoville: 3.1 inches
  • Plainfield: 2.5 inches
  • Prairie Grove: 3.5 inches
  • Naperville: 4.5 inches
  • Downers Grove:4.3 inches
  • Schaumburg: 3 inches

SCHOOL CLOSINGS: See full list of Chicago area school closures

Meanwhile, ABC7 Meteorologist Greg Dutra said an even colder and snowier system could reach the Chicago area on Friday.

Weather warnings, advisories and delays

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for Illinois' Boone, DeKalb, Kane, Lake, LaSalle, Ogle, Lee, Winnebago and McHenry counties, which is in effect until 4 a.m. Wednesday.

A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for Illinois' northern Cook, central Cook, Will, DuPage, Grundy, Kendall and Kankakee counties until 4 a.m. Wednesday. It will also be in effect for Lake, Porter, Jasper and Newton counties in Northwest Indiana until 4 a.m. Wednesday.

While the city narrowly missed the brunt of the snow, the impact is still being felt on Tuesday night as hundreds of flights between O'Hare and Midway were canceled.

Traveling from Amsterdam, the Morin family was only supposed to be in Chicago briefly.

But now, getting back home to Montreal, Canada will have to wait after their flight was canceled.

"This was just supposed to be a quick layover," Killian Morin said. "Yeah, for three hours, which turned out to be two days."

And, like others at O'Hare airport, they had to get cozy after a winter wave of ice and snow grounded flights on Tuesday for more than an hour, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

At O'Hare, 232 flights have been canceled, along with 42 others at Midway as of 9:15 p.m. With ongoing delays at both airports, travelers told ABC7 Chicago they're now forced to make reservations at hotels.

"I thought it was going to be canceled the way the snow was coming down earlier, but thank God it got better, so hopefully it doesn't get delayed too much," said Sam Najjar, whose wife is traveling to Jordan.

Snow, rain create dangerous road conditions

As snow fell in the north and west suburbs, causing slippery conditions, plow trucks were paving a pathway on area roads in Chicago's South Loop.

Officials with the Chicago Office of Emergency Management said nearly 300 salt-spreaders were out on city streets on Tuesday evening, monitoring conditions on routes, including bridges and overpasses, to ensure roads are safe and passable for emergency vehicles, public transportation and other travelers during Wednesday's morning commute.

As the system moved in, the Illinois Tollway deployed its full fleet of 196 snowplows and opened its Snow Operations Center to manage the agency's response to the storm.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Illinois Department of Transportation said the fleet was on area expressways to pre-treat the pavement in anticipation of slick conditions.

"Even though the pavement may look more wet, it's definitely more slick than you anticipate so you really need to go slower than you think," IDOT spokeswoman Maria Castaneda said.

The slick road conditions may have led to a car crashing into a water-filled ditch on Tuesday afternoon out in DeKalb County.

Road conditions may have led to a car crashing into a water-filled ditch on Tuesday afternoon in DeKalb County.

A deputy sheriff said the driver called 911, saying he had crashed and was upside-down in the water near Cortland.

He was stuck in the water up to his shoulders for several minutes as firefighters worked to free him. He was taken to a nearby hospital to get checked out, but is expected to be OK.

Downtown St. Charles was drenched in white on Tuesday evening. Views of the Fox River are postcard perfect in the snow, but behind the wheel is another story.

With a Winter Storm Warning in effect, rain and snow are creating slippery roads in St. Charles and other suburban areas.

"It's slippery, walking, driving; it's slippery. I saw accidents, a stop sign down," said Amy Dixon, a St. Charles resident. "It's pretty, pretty bad out there."

Dixon was among many taking it slow after a lighter first round of snow on Tuesday morning may have lulled drivers into a false sense of safety.

"We wake up. There's not really any snow. We're like, OK, and then, by the end of the afternoon, it was just coming down like crazy," Dixon said.

Paul Scymczak was shoveling his parents' walkway and really had to put his back into it.

"It's not too cold, but the snow's a bit heavy because it's so saturated with the water. It's a bit slushy," Scymczak said.

In DeKalb, thick, wet flakes created a snow globe effect.

Across the west and northwest suburbs, those conditions greeted the evening commute. As the sun goes down and temperatures fall, road conditions could worsen.

"The most important thing is being able to stop in these conditions. It's not so much driving through it, but being able to stop in it," Castaneda said.

And while it was a slow go for some motorists who had a tough time remembering how to drive in the snow, others, like Nathan Streeter, welcomed the change of pace.

"It's actually nice to have it for a change after such a warm Christmas; although, we don't mind having the nice weather," commuter Nathan Streeter said.

Residents dig out as snow blankets western, northern suburbs

While snow blanketed St. Charles and DeKalb, it wasn't much better over in Hinsdale, another western suburb.

Residents woke up to a cold blast for the first snowfall of the year.

"Got to get bundled up, two layers on, three layers on," Kevin Cheung said.

The snow slowed down and picked up as folks drudged their way to work. Piles of snow now decorate the streets of Hinsdale, making for slippery conditions on the roads.

"There's a little slush here and there, but not that bad," Diab Zanayed said. "You just gotta be careful obviously."

Crews have been hard at work, clearing streets and sidewalks. The snow fell continuously overnight, turning to rain at points.

"Well, I wore clogs with holes in them, and I should not have because my feet are wet now," Diane Giltner said.

"I've been out since about 3:30 this morning," Bob Wood said.

Wood maintains some of the downtown businesses. He said he's already had to shovel the sidewalk several times Tuesday to clear all the wet slush.

"I'm hoping it goes right to snow," Wood said. "I don't want to deal with the wet stuff. I have a snowblower, but it won't work in this."

The ACE Hardware store was packed with customers Monday, looking for all the typical items in preparation for the storm.

"Shovels and salt, that was the big thing," ACE hardware owner Paula Fuller said. "And then, quite a few snowblowers went out, which has been two years with no snow. Even that type of product wasn't moving."

Those that are headed out are asked to give some extra time to reach their destination and leave plenty of space between them and other vehicles.

The snow in West Chicago has been enough to make it tricky getting out of the driveway, so Brian Crile took out the shovel and got to work, quickly discovering it was not fun.

"It's very wet, heart attack stuff. You gotta be very careful. Pace yourself," Crile said.

Beware of 'snow heart attack,' doctor says

One doctor told ABC7 you have to be careful while cleaning up snow, because that can lead to what's called a snow heart attack.

Out in the northern suburbs, the snow was still coming down pretty hard in Schaumburg on Tuesday afternoon. One doctor told ABC7 you have to be careful coming outside because this kind of weather can lead to what's called a snow heart attack.

"It's actually more dangerous than a blizzard, in the sense that the snow is more wet, as you mentioned, and it's heavier. So, it's going to put more strain on your back, it's going to put more strain on your heart," RUSH EMS Medical Director Dr. Nicholas Cozzi said.

Cozzi said those with heart conditions or respiratory issues like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or asthma need to take it slow when it comes to going outside and shoveling or not do it at all.

"Doing that type of exercise can decrease blood supply to the heart rate, creating a heart attack," Cozzi said.

Younger stamina can be helpful. Abyan Qureshi, 12, overslept, so he got a chance to stay home and shovel for his mom.

"I'm just doing it because I wanted to go outside," Qureshi said. "It's fun for me. I can use the snow to play as well."

Qureshi said his mom feels proud that she has some help in the shoveling department, but added that once he's done, it's all about building his snowman, complete with a carrot and all. That is, until his older brother gets home.

"I was going to wait for my brother to have a snowball fight," Qureshi said.

And for those with a little less energy than a sixth-grader, Cozzi's best advice is to shop local.

"I'm all about supporting the local small business. So, if a youngster wants to come to my door and wants to ask me to pay him or her to shovel the driveway, I'm going to support that small business. I'm going to shop local," Cozzi said.

If they can't find a youngster to help out, Cozzi said, it's important for those with heart conditions to make sure they dress warm, stay hydrated, only do small amounts of snow removal at a time and take breaks as needed.

Meanwhile, much of the West Chicago area got very little snow overnight, much to the disappointment of many of the private snow removal company employees who had little work.

"There's gotta be something to plow. If there's nothing to plow, we just sit here twiddling our thumbs," Aaron Faucett said.

Aaron's Snow Removal was up and ready to go, but there was nowhere to go.

"Hoping we're gonna have a blizzard, and a fizzle is what we got," said George Schlangen, with Aaron's Snow Removal.

With several more snowstorms expected this week, there should be plenty of work for snow removal crews.

In fact, by around noon in Algonquin, the snow was heavy enough that the city sent its entire fleet of salt and plow trucks out. They've got more than 160 miles of roads in town, so lots of work for crews. By early Tuesday afternoon, several were returning to reload with salt. The town has the crews on 12-hour shifts around the clock this week.

"The guys have been waiting for it. They need the overtime," Algonquin General Services Superintendent Vince Kilcullen said.

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