Heavy snowfall leaves more than a foot in many areas

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Snow totals have exceeded a foot in many Chicago suburbs Saturday, falling hard at an inch an hour at times in the north and northwest suburbs. (WLS)

Snow totals exceeded a foot in many Chicago suburbs Saturday, the storm hitting hardest in the city's north and northwest suburbs.

The system moved into northwest Indiana, leaving the Chicago area bracing for below-zero windchills on Sunday.

A Winter Storm Warning for most of the Chicago area was in effect until 5 p.m. Saturday, however most Chicagoans were dealing with slush and dropping temperatures Saturday evening.

The snow snarled traffic in parts of northwest Indiana. Though the plows were on the streets, the snow was coming down heavy, making it tough to keep the roads clear, and several drivers lost control and found themselves off the road.

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About 16.5 inches fell in Hawthorn Woods, 16 inches in Wadsworth, 15.5 inches in Mundelein, 12.5 inches in Woodstock, 12 inches in Elgin and 11 inches in Lake Zurich.

At noon, the back edge of the storm moved into northwest Illinois, but the Chicago area saw several more hours of snow. Along the city's lakefront and downtown, precipitation mostly turned to rain throughout the day.

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The weather had an impact on air travel. Both area airports saw delays and cancellations as the storm moved through. O'Hare International Airport reported 60-minute delays and 300 cancelled flights, while Midway Airport had reported 45-minute delays and 110 cancelled flights.

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KEEPING STREETS CLEAR

The Illinois Department of Transportation deployed trucks across Chicago's tollways and expressways Saturday, though officials say the warmer temperatures have made clearing roadways a bit easier.

"There's a couple of things working in our favor, the temperatures the last couple weeks have been very high so the pavement temperature is quite warm. Secondly, at this hour on a Saturday, there's just not a lot of traffic. So we've been able to get out into this storm and operate a lot more efficiently due to the fact that there's not a lot of traffic right now," said Guy Tridgell, Illinois Department of Transportation.

In the city, the 287 Streets and Sanitation crews continue their snow removal efforts throughout Saturday evening, focusing on clearing residential streets.

WINTER DRIVING TIPS

If you must travel during winter weather, here are some tips to stay safe on the road:

- Clear snow and ice from all windows, mirrors and lights before you drive.
- Stay alert to avoid distracted driving.
- Adjust speed to road conditions and increase the distance between your vehicle and the one in front you.
- Avoid unnecessary lane changes.
- Keep away from snowplows, and do not use the shoulder of the road to pass a snowplow.

And if you encounter car trouble, follow these tips:

- Keep your gas tank at least half full to keep your gas line from freezing.
- If you become snowbound, stay with your vehicle. It will make it easier for rescuers to locate you.
- If you become stranded, don't try to walk in a snow storm. It's easy to lose sight of your vehicle in blowing and drifting snow.
- Tie a brightly colored cloth to your antenna to signal distress.
- At night, keep your dome light on if possible. It only uses a small amount of electricity and makes it easier for rescuers to locate you.

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