Chicago weather: Area digging out after a foot of snow in places as plows begin clearing side streets

Shelf ice on Lake Michigan poses hidden danger

Tuesday, February 2, 2021
Shelf ice on Lake Michigan poses hidden danger
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Shelf ice can be magnet for lakefront sightseers, but many may not realize they're close to the water, or even on it.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Chicago area is digging out Monday after a weekend snowstorm dumped a foot of snow in some parts of the area.

Over the weekend, O'Hare Airport recorded more than ten inches of snow and more than 11 inches of snow fell at Midway Airport. It was the biggest snowstorm in the Chicago area in more than five years.

Snow Totals

Romeoville: 12.9"

Peotone: 12.7"

Downers Grove: 12.4"

Morton Grove 12.1"

Oak Park: 12.0"

Deerfield: 12.0"

Flossmoor: 11.5"

Midway: 11.3"

Plainfield: 11.2"

Midway: 11.3"

O'Hare: 10.8"

Schaumburg: 10.3"

Tinley Park 10.0"

Homer Glen: 9.5"

O'Hare: 10.8"

Crown Point 9.5"

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It is pretty to look at and even to play in and with temperatures in the 30s, it even makes for a nice walk.

"It's a lot sloppier and messier, but you know, we're trying to get fresh air and it's fun seeing all the different snowmen," said resident Tyna Brady.

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But not so great if you have to clean it up. The snow is heavy and side streets are still covered across the city. Plows have cleaned the main streets but that still leaves a lot of work for residents.

"Yesterday, I was out a couple times," said resident Mike McMerney. "Went to O'Hare. The streets were bad yesterday. This side street obviously hasn't been plowed yet."

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Still, some love the end result.

"It's better than when it all nasty and muddy before, so it does look pretty. Once you get the dig out done everything looks great," said resident Allen Kus.

The winter weather is set to continue, with bitter cold temperatures forecast for next weekend.

WATCH: Chunks of ice float in Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan was a sight to behold during the snow storm this weekend.

Some people went down to shoot video of the huge chunks of ice floating on the water. But as the massive ice shelf developed, so did the potential for deadly danger.

"It's scary, because you could just be walking around and thinking you're on the shoreline, like I did, and then all of a sudden you're below ice," said John Jacobson, who fell into the lake last week.

Jacobson was on Loyola Beach when suddenly he wasn't. He was in the lake. Now he's warning others about the dangers of shelf ice, created by powerful waves.

The sight can draw visitors to the lakefront like a magnet, but many may not realize they're close to the water or even on it.

"Just be really, really careful with your children and your dogs," Jacobson said.

Tips if you must travel:

  • Take it slow, especially when approaching intersections, ramps, bridges and shaded areas that are prone to icing.
  • Make sure your gas tank is full.
  • Keep a cell phone, warm clothes, blankets, food, water, a first-aid kit, washer fluid and an ice scraper in your vehicle.
  • Check the forecast and make sure someone is aware of your route and schedule.
  • Carry a cellphone and dial *999 in the Chicago area for assistance in case of emergency.
  • Reminder: Using handheld phones while driving is illegal in Illinois, unless it is an emergency situation.
  • If you are involved in a crash, remain inside your vehicle. Exiting your vehicle into live traffic can have fatal consequences.
  • Always wear a seat belt, whether you're sitting in the front seat or back seat. It's the law.
  • North Side Residents Build 15-Foot Snowman

    Some people on the city's North Side put the snow to good use and built this giant snowman.

    An ABC7 photographer said it's about 15 feet tall and had some kids stand in front of it for perspective.