Tom updates Tuesday's storm. (WGN - Chicago)
A winter storm warning for up 6 to 10 inches of snow has been issued for Lake and McHenry Counties, and a winter weather advisory for other Chicago-area counties has been extended into Wednesday as a strong storm made travel hazardous and grounded hundreds of flights.
The National Weather Service has extended its winter weather advisory in Cook, DuPage, Kane and DeKalb counties until 6 a.m. Wednesday, and has upgraded Lake and McHenry counties to a winter weather warning, also until 6 a.m. Wednesday.
The heaviest snow was expected to fall this afternoon, but some heavy snow is expected to fall into the evening, with accumulations of up to 10 inches in north suburbs by daybreak, according to the winter storm warning for Lake and McHenry counties.
Snow accumulation totals at O’Hare as of 6 p.m. was 3.8 inches, the highest single snow storm total so far this winter season, said Casey Sullivan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
The northern suburbs have had the most snowfall today, with some areas reporting 6 to 7 inches of snow by this evening. Anything more than 6 inches of snowfall is upgraded to a winter weather warning, Sullivan said.
An advisory issued late this afternoon for Cook, DuPage, Kane and other northern Illinois counties called for up to 7 inches by late evening. Winds gusting at 35 to 40 mph will reduce visibility and glaze roads, the weather service warned.
"Snowfall rates in excess of an inch per hour could occur at times, along with wind whipped snow resulting in temporary white out conditions with near zero visibility at times in open areas," according to an advisory. "This will likely be a heavy wet snow sometimes referred to as heart attack snow."
The slow-moving storm weakens as it moves east, but will continue peppering Chicagoland with about another inch of snow overnight, Sullivan said. Temperatures will remain relatively steady, so the snow will be similarly wet and heavy.
By a little before 5:30 p.m., the weather service was reporting these snowfall accumulations: 6.4 inches in Northbrook; 5.2 inches in Streamwrood; and 4.5 inches in Winnetka.
Earlier, about 4:30 p.m., the weather service had reported these snowfall accumulations: 5.5 inches in northwest suburban Bull Valley, 5 inches in north suburban Lake Bluff, 4.9 inches in northwest suburban Elk Grove Village, 4 inches in northwest suburban South Elgin and Schaumburg, 3.3 inches in west suburban Winfield, 1.8 inches in north suburban Morton Grove, and 1.5 inches at Midway International Airport and southwest suburban Romeoville.
About 600 flights have been canceled at O'Hare International Airport and about 170 at Midway, according to FlightStats, which gathers data from airports and airlines. There were about 734 flights delayed at O'Hare and 118 at Midway.
On the roads, spinouts have been reported on interstates 90, 94 and 55, according to the Illinois State Police.
The Illinois State Police Chicago District has instituted its emergency snow plan. In an accident where there are no injuries and the cars are driveable, the drivers should exchange information at a safe place and file accident reports with the state police within 10 days.
Chicago's Streets and Sanitation Department has deployed its entire fleet of 284 plows. Drivers will plow the main roads, such as Lake Shore Drive, through the evening rush hour. As the snow begins to taper off, the plows will clear residential roads, said department spokeswoman Anne Sheahan.
Extra plows are being deployed to the 2ndCongressional District to help residents get to their polling places for today's primary election, Sheahan said.
Road conditions were treacherous throughout the southwest suburbs, especially along Interstates 55 and 80 in Will County, police and fire officials said.
Several vehicles have slipped into ditches along I-55 near Plainfield, especially near U.S. Route 30, said Jon Stratton, a deputy chief with the Plainfield Fire Protection District. "On I-55, there are vehicles everywhere in the ditch," Stratton said. "Visibility is going down and roads are getting all snow covered, so it's going to be an interesting day."
The most serious accident in the area so far today occurred when an SUV slid under a semi's trailer on the Route 30 overpass over I-55, Stratton said.
Firefighters extricated the woman who was driving the SUV, and she was taken by ambulance to Provena Saint Joseph Medical Center in Joliet, Stratton said. The woman was conscious and stable when removed from the SUV, he said.
A school bus carrying about 35 elementary students collided with a plow truck in Plainfield around 4 p.m., but no injuries were reported, officials said.
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