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CHICAGO (STMW) – More than 640 flights were canceled at Chicago airports Tuesday as snowfall and the aftermath of a winter storm in the Southeast left travelers stranded.
Chicago residents have already dealt with about four inches of snow, but could wake up to a bit more.
By 6 a.m. Wednesday, the Chicago area and its surrounding suburbs will be cleaning up to six inches of snow from their driveways and cars, while a portion of northern Illinois and northwest Indiana will record six to eight inches of snow, according to a National Weather Service.
In Porter County, Ind. — a county expected to be hit hard by lake effect snow — 3.2 inches of snow was recorded since the snow began falling shortly after 6 p.m., the weather service said.
Snow showers in the Chicago area will continue before midnight with the low around 21 degrees. Less than an inch of snow is possible overnight.
The snow in the area, as well as a winter storm that hit the Southeast, canceled more than 600 flights in and out of the city’s airports, according to the city’s Department of Aviation. As of 8:30 p.m., O’Hare International Airport was also experiencing one-hour delays for all flights.
At Midway Airport, travelers were expecting 45 minute delays and more than 40 flights had been canceled.
The storm that socked the Southeast on Monday brought a mixture of snow, sleet and freezing rain to much of north and central Georgia, including Atlanta. The weather service said shallow Arctic air and abundant low-level moisture, combined with snow and sleet-covered ground in much of north Georgia was resulting in freezing drizzle and freezing fog Tuesday in the Atlanta area.
The airlines and the Department of Aviation recommend that travelers check their airline’s websites for the status of flights before going to the airports to depart or pick up arriving passengers.
The City of Chicago’s snow-fighting trucks have been on the streets since early morning. The Department of Streets & Sanitation brought 174 trucks onto main streets and Lake Shore Drive about 2:30 a.m. and since then that number has been increased to 275 snow trucks.
“We will continue to focus on the main route system of main streets and Lake Shore Drive until the snow concludes, then we will focus on the side streets,” Streets and San Commissioner Thomas Byrne said Tuesday afternoon.
The Illinois Tollway also mobilized its full fleet of 183 snowplows.
The Tollway’s Snow Operations Center was activated Monday evening and staffed with traffic center operators, and snow and ice control supervisors, a release from the Tollway said.
To help with snow removal efforts, the Tollway canceled all temporary lane closures from 8 p.m. Monday through 8 p.m. Tuesday.A Tollway District trooper said Tuesday afternoon that while there had been many spinouts and fender-benders on the tollways, no serious accidents had taken place. “I just wish people would slow down out there,” he said.
A District Chicago state trooper said there had been crashed on Chicago area expressways Tuesday, but no serious incidents.
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