Chicago weather: Historic blizzard cancels schools, causes travel hazards

CHICAGO (WLS) -- One of the biggest winter storms in Chicago history this weekend is causing problems on the road, in the air and on the rails, as some parts saw more than a foot of snow by Sunday night.

Among the top 10 biggest snowstorms in Chicago history, the blizzard has caused Chicago Public Schools to cancel classes on Monday. CPS buildings will remain open and accept students who still arrive at schools. Hundreds of schools and daycares across the area have also canceled classes.

SCHOOL CLOSURES: Full list of closures


The weather was not welcome news to travelers either, as many flights were cancelled at local airports due to weather. O'Hare International Airport experienced intermittent ground stops due to slow flights. Delays were averaging 45 minutes and nearly 1,300 flights were cancelled. More than 300 flights were cancelled at Midway.

Weather-related power outages have been reported across the area as a result of snow weighing down power lines. As of 10 p.m., ComEd reported 8,500 customers remain without power after 50,000 outages impacted customers system-wide, a majority of them in the southern region. NIPSCO reported less than 2,000 total power outages, with many of those affected not expected to regain power until Monday.

WATCH: ABC7 First Alert Forecast

YOUR PHOTOS: Snow hits Chicago area


Conditions deteriorated throughout the day, making travel the most difficult as a result of blowing and drifting snow.

A blizzard warning has been issued for the following counties:

ILLINOIS
Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will counties until midnight Monday.

INDIANA
Lake and Porter until 3 a.m. Monday.

The following counties also face a winter storm warning:

ILLINOIS
Boone; Cook; De Kalb; Ford; Grundy; Iroquois; Kane; Kankakee; Kendall; Lake; La Salle; Lee; Livingston; McHenry; Ogle; Will; and Winnebago until midnight Monday.

INDIANA
Benton; Jasper; Lake; Newton and Porter until 1 a.m. Monday.
Allen; De Kalb; Elkhart; Fulton; Kosciusko; La Porte; Lagrange; Marshall; Noble; Pulaski; St. Joseph; Starke; Steuben and Whitley until 4 a.m. Monday.

WISCONSIN
Jefferson; Rock; Walworth and Waukesha counties until midnight Monday.

Temperatures are also dropping, making lighter, fluffier snow later that will contribute to blowing conditions.

Illinois Department of Transportation officials have advised drivers to avoid traveling unless absolutely necessary.

"This is a historic snow fall. In 24-hour period it's going to be one of the top three in the history of the city of Chicago," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "All in, we're looking at 18-19 inches. All the resources from all the departments are at full strength on the streets of the city of Chicago to ensure that the streets remain plowed and passable."

Snow plows continue to clear and salt streets in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. Plows are out clearing main thoroughfares because temperatures were close to freezing.

"We plow the side streets when the snow actually stops," said Charles Williams, Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation spokesperson. "Right now we're anticipating that'll be sometime late (Sunday) evening or early Monday morning."

VIDEO: Blizzard blankets suburbs in snow


The CTA rerouted buses that normally use Lake Shore Drive to local streets due to roadway conditions caused by the winter weather. The mass transit agency is planning on regular bus and rail service Monday. For more information on CTA service during the winter storm: http://www.transitchicago.com/blizzard/

Amtrak has cancelled train service Monday morning due to heavy blowing and drifting snow on tracks between Chicago and Quincy, Illinois, which is just outside Springfield. The morning service stoppage affects trains 380 and 381. Evening trains are still scheduled to operate.

Some Greyhound bus service in and out of Chicago has also be cancelled due to weather. For an updated schedule, visit Greyhound's website.

The Kane County Sheriff's office is advising that all roads west of Ill. Rt. 47 are "basically impassable." The new bridge on Rt 38 near the border with DuPage County is also impassable.

Waste Management of Illinois will operate on a holiday schedule this week due to the extreme weather conditions. The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois will be closed Monday and summoned jurors are asked to report on Tuesday instead. DePaul University has also cancelled classes for Monday at its Chicago and suburban campuses, although Northwestern University and Loyola University will remain open.

Click here for a full list of closures

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