Chicago weather: Winter storm brings heavy snow, rain to area

Winter storm brings heavy snow, rain to Chicago area
A major winter snow storm is moving through the Chicago area, with as much as a foot of accumulation in spots. Some are seeing rain.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A winter storm is moving through the Chicago area Friday, with more than half a foot of snow accumulating in some areas, while others see rain.

A Winter Storm Warning is in effect for Boone, central and northern Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Lake and McHenry counties until noon Saturday.

A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for southern Cook, Grundy, Kendall, LaSalle, Will, Livingston and Kankakee counties until noon Saturday.

In Indiana, a Winter Storm Warning is in effect for LaPorte County until 6 p.m. CST Saturday and a Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for Starke County until 6 p.m. CST Saturday.

As of about 2 p.m., there were 4.4 inches of snow at O'Hare airport, making Friday the biggest one day snow in nearly two years, ABC7 Chicago meteorologist Larry Mowry said.

The last time there was this much snow was Feb. 2, 2022, he said.

Most areas away from the lake saw 3 to 6 inches, with some isolated higher amounts.

By the early afternoon, the only areas still seeing snow were far northwest suburbs, like Woodstock and the DeKalb area.

A winter storm moving through Chicago has created slick travel conditions.

Much of the rest of the area was seeing rain.

SCHOOL CLOSINGS: See full list of school closures

After midnight, precipitation will likely pick back up as snow, with temperatures falling into the 20s.

Winds will pick up overnight with gusts to 45 mph into early Saturday morning.

One to 4 inches of snow are possible overnight, Mowry said.

Warming Centers: See list of Chicago warming center locations

With temps dropping into the 20s, the puddles and slush on roads will freeze.

Time-lapse: Snow storm leaves Chicago roads covered

The ABC7 Storm Tracker shows how quickly a winter storm covered Chicago roads in snow Friday morning.

Some area residents have been out with shovels since 7:30 a.m., clearing as much snow as they can.

"Thought I'd get a jump on the shoveling because it's a heavy wet stuff, and I know it's going to freeze over tonight. So I wanted to get a head start on cleaning the sidewalk up," Anna Kotsovos said. "I'm sure I'll be out here many times between today and tomorrow."

Some drivers were making sure they'd be home before the final leg of the storm overnight.

"Oh yeah, I'll be home by then," James Rogers said.

"I'm so happy because I'm going to go home right now," Norma Urbina said.

Friday's storm has created slick conditions on Chicago-area roads, especially expressway ramps. A car carrying three people rolled over on a ramp on the Edens Expressway at Dempster Avenue early Friday morning. All three inside the car refused medical transport.

The CTA Yellow Line suspended service because of debris on the tracks, with shuttle bus service in place. Train service has since resumed.

The CTA has rerouted all of their outer DuSable Lake Shore Drive buses to inner Lake Shore Drive because of high winds and weather.

On the Metra UP-NW line, downed power lines halted inbound and outbound trains near Barrington. Service resumed about 2:30 p.m.

Hundreds of flights canceled:

The winter storm led to a full ground stop at O'Hare airport due to snow and ice. The ground stop was lifted at 8 a.m.

As of about 10 p.m., 860 flights had been canceled at O'Hare in the past 24 hours, with average delays of 15 minutes. At Midway, 281 flights have been canceled, with average delays of less than 15 minutes.

Storm knocks tree onto home in Skokie

Strong winds from a winter storm knocked a tree onto a home in north suburban Skokie.

In north suburban Skokie, the wind gusts from the storm knocked a tree onto a home in the 8600-block of South Crawford Avenue. Everyone inside the home was OK.

"We got a phone call that it was 8 in the morning and the tree fell, waking everyone up," resident Cynthia Hernandez said. "The house shook and everyone was shaken up."

The family is now temporarily displaced, as crews said they would have to cut the power to remove the tree.

"Out of nowhere, the whole house shook, and you just heard a loud noise. It sounded like a lot of wind, but then it got really intense. Then, the dogs got up and my mom started screaming," Karla Hernandez said.

Storm causes power outages

Power outages affected Skokie businesses Friday, as wet snow downed power lines.

Thousands were without power Friday, as heavy snow downed electric lines.

As of about 10 p.m., over 4,000 were without power.

DuPage County has been the hardest hit, with nearly 2,000 customers affected.

Systemwide, the hardest hit municipality is Chicago, with nearly 6,000 customers affected, followed by Cicero and Skokie.

In the city, the hardest hit ward is the 43rd.

Thirty four Chicago Public Schools were without power at one point Friday. The district canceled after-school and out-of-school activities Friday and Saturday.

Some sporting events for Monday have been canceled, as well.

Lozano Elementary and Wildwood, both on the Northwest Side, were affected.

By then, hundreds of young students were already in the school buildings.

Wildwood Elementary's principal sent an email to parents and guardians saying students were safe, but without "telephone service, Wi-Fi, or heat."

As crews work to restore power through the weekend before the anticipated bitter cold snap starts, the CEO of Chicago Public schools acknowledged Monday activities are still a question mark.

"Even though it's a holiday, we have MLK activities, we have sports activities. We'll be making those decisions as early as possible this weekend because our fear is, as we look at coming into Monday, now we're looking at wind chill, we're looking at temperatures; that might create other challenges for us," Pedro Martinez said.

Some Skokie businesses, including a Shell gas station, were without power Friday evening because of a downed power line at the intersection of Gross Point Road and Dempster Street.

Crews were trying to restore power Friday evening, but residents said power went out about 6:30 a.m.

Live wires could be seen hanging from downed power lines.

"We heard a loud noise right behind me, right over here at the strip mall area, saw a bunch of loud flashes," gas station owner Shehzad Lakhani said.

He's worried the perishable items will go bad, as the refrigerators have been out all day.

"The pumps are completely off, so we're not even able to pump gas. Even if I wanted to take gas myself, I wouldn't be able to do it," Lakhani said. "There's still a lot of people coming and needing gas and needing things on the inside, but our power's been out so we can't use credit cards."

Some street lights are out, too.

"Currently, we have additional ComEd crews who are working to quickly and safely restore outages in Chicago and systemwide in northern Illinois," ComEd CEO Gil Quinones said. "If you spot a downed wire, please assume it is energized and report it immediately by contacting 1-800-Edison-1. Please, do not approach or touch."

He said critical facilities, including hospitals, nursing homes and first responder facilities, will be prioritized.

"The wind's up, and heavier snowfall right now is causing little bit of mayhem throughout the village," Skokie Fire Battalion Chief Gabe Millard said.

Anyone dealing with a power outage should text "out" to 266-33.

In the far north suburbs, it was snowing all day.

The Illinois Department of Transportation said many of the major roads there are partly or mostly snow-covered. Local roads are likely in worse shape.

In downtown Huntley, many were cleaning up between rounds of snow.

"It's actually very peaceful. It's nice. It's a beautiful night. It's not terribly cold, and we have a beautiful downtown here, a little square, so it's a lovely night," Father Christopher DiTomo said.

During the afternoon rush, lanes were partially snow-covered on Interstate 90 in the far northwest suburbs.

Visibility was reduced by bursts of snow.

Bo Carter was out moving mail in a giant box truck.

"The wind blowing you from side-to-side, really, once that winds catches you, it blows you from to-and-from," Carter said.

In Lake Zurich, residents started their days with several inches of snow.

Many had plans to be somewhere, but when push came to shove, winter won out.

Thick, heavy wet snow fell in northwest suburban Barrington, and snow plow drivers said they were ready.

"We've been ready since 12:30 this morning. We've been planning, coming up with a plan, getting the guys called and giving them enough notice to get into the shop to get out," Jeff Larivieri with Apex Landscaping said.

"Get a couple days out of it," Mike Rittorno with Apex Landscaping said. "This stuff, it's heavy and wet, and it just keeps coming down. I'll take it."

With her husband out of town, Margot Dallstream drew primary snow removal duty Friday morning. She said, with the wet, heavy snow, it's a lot of work.

"I think it's really pretty falling down. I love how it looks on the trees. I'm hoping I won't be in too much pain later," said Dallstream, a Barrington resident.

Barrington resident Jin Chon said his snow blower was getting a workout for the first time in a couple years.

In Hoffman Estates, they've been tracking the snow from their snow command office since the overnight hours. They've had all their trucks on the road since early Friday morning. They're hoping to clear the streets in plenty of time before the forecasted deep freeze hits on Sunday.

"Our primary focus at the tail end of this is to get everything cleared off and get the road surface treated," Hoffman Estates Public Works Director Joe Nebel said. "When the temperature does drop as expected on Sunday morning, it's going to be difficult to melt any ice at that point."

The heavy snow made for tricky conditions on the roads. One car slid off the road near Wauconda.

Anyone driving in the north suburbs Friday night is likely maneuvering through a lot of slush.

"It's kind of difficult because it started snowing, and then ice came, and then snow, so that really make it too slushy," snow plow driver Raul Sifuentes said.

Drivers like Sifuentes plan to work through the night to pave a clear and treated path for travelers.

He said he'd been working since 2:30 a.m. Friday, and urged drivers to stay indoors overnight.

In Schaumburg, kids took advantage of a day off school to get in some sledding.

"They love going on the sled, tons of friends, definitely the best snow day ever I would say," Tiffany Bartels said.

In Bolingbrook, as well, kids took advantage of a snow day and nice packing snow to hit the sled hill.

An ABC7 Chicago reporter built a snowman in the south suburbs, as residents dealt with a winter storm.

"It's been rough dealing with the weather, just trying to keep up with everything, the snowfall," snow removal employee Steven Erickson said. "It's just rough, with gas and everything, doing all these crazy hours. It's been real bad; we've seen a few accidents along the way, making sure everyone is OK."

Lockport has seen some of the higher snow totals, with 7 inches coming down.

"It's disgusting out. I just came from downtown Chicago. It's just awful, you know. The roads are pretty bad; my car is four-by-four, but it's still skidding," Naperville resident Fahad Salim said.

Over in Plainfield, Matt Odom kept his youngest home from daycare Friday, and it was safe to say she was enjoying it.

"We were anticipating the snow, so looking forward to a snow day in the afternoon with the kids. So yeah, they'll get out and have some snowball fights with the neighbors," Odom said.

Some people have been dreading this weather; others say this is nothing.

"We like to get the snow, need the moisture, little wet, nobody likes it like that, but it's all part of the experience," Plainfield resident Kevin Clancy said. "I'm well up in my 60s, so I've been through my time; I've seen the worst Chicago has to offer. This ain't too bad. We'll make it."

What started as a snowy Chicago day developed into a slushy Chicago day.

Dozens of CPS schools had power outages Friday.

The shovels were moving more water than snow at times, and people were using rain gear as well as winter gear.

People were out shoveling to help their neighbors, with volunteers clearing sidewalks before the next round moves in.

Eddie Guillen and his mighty team of West Lawn neighborhood watch volunteers did the heavy lifting.

"I think we've probably shoveled about 26 of them by now," Guillen said. "It was better than I expected, much more easier."

They put out the call on social media, asking for help for local senior citizens.

"As soon as we got outside, I couldn't even turn my head. I keep getting smacked in the face. Like you said, it's kind of wild right now," Chicago resident Isiah Rivers said.

With a new puppy, some Chicagoans tried to find a break in the weather to walk Adonis.

"We were waiting for it to calm down, so right now we were going to head to the art museum. So, let's try it," Mia Moore said.

Some Chicagoans took advantage of a relatively warmer day than what's expected. After all, it was still a snow day.

"We immediately woke up and said, 'what can we do today -- go outside and be in the snow,'" new resident Claire Begley said.

The couple, originally from Omaha, Nebraska, went to the Shedd Aquarium and were prepared for a sloppy, cold day.

"Coming from Omaha, what's this? Normal -- Omaha gets freezing rain; we are used to it," Max Rivers said.

Florence Gschwind, 4, was happy to find some snow on the hill in Grant Park.

"I said all day, 'when is it gonna snow?' And when we saw it was going to snow, we got ready to play outside," Gschwind said. "I love sledding down the slipperiest part because I love it when I go so fast."

"It didn't snow as much last year, and Florence has been asking to go sledding for months now," Elliott Gschwind said.

Saturday will have more light snow showers, with temperatures in the 20s and wind chills around 0.

Sunday, Monday and Tuesday will also have bitter cold temperatures.

With the frigid temperatures, Chicago will be opening its warming centers for people to get out of the cold.

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