weather Snow Makes For Messy Morning Commute

UPDATED: 2/4/2013 9 a.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — The biggest snowfall of the season hit the area on Monday, and it made for a long and treacherous morning commute.

As of 6:45 a.m., more than two dozen accidents had been reported on area roadways and travel times on the expressways were already at or above rush hour levels. Snow was heavier north of the city, and much less south of the city. Travel times on the Kennedy and Eisenhower were three times the norm as of 6:45 a.m.

Typically a three-inch snowfall in February wouldn’t be a big event, but this year, snow has been scarce. A total of 4.9 inches of snow has fallen over the past four days, which is more than half the total snowfall for the entire season (8.2 inches.)

As of 10 a.m., three inches had fallen in Elgin, with 2.9 inches in Huntley. A total of 2.1 inches was reported at Midway Airport. Northbrook reported 2.4 inches. About 2.8 inches was reported in Schaumburg.

Down south, there was only an inch to a trace of snow.

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There were several motorists who told WBBM Newsradio that the expressways had not been salted or plowed overnight. IDOT spokesman Mike Claffey said more than 300 plows were on the expressways, but warned drivers to expect long commutes. As of 6 a.m., the Kennedy Expy. was slushy, and drivers were moving at below posted speeds.

He said it’s challenging for the crews because the snow is still coming down while they’re trying to clear the roads. He said taking the train might be a better option than driving today.

Chicago’s 284 snow plows had the main streets cleared as of 7 a.m. and were moving to clear the side streets, according to an email from Streets and Sanitation.

Among the accidents was a semi truck that jack-knifed on the Kennedy near Addison Street, state police said. The accident caused right lanes on the expressway to be temporarily blocked, state police said, but all lanes were open as of 4:30 a.m.

No one was seriously injured in any of the 10 accidents, state police said.

O’Hare International Airport was reporting some delays of up to 45 minutes, with 70 flights canceled. Midway had no cancellations and few delays of around 30 minutes.

There is a Winter Weather Advisory in effect for the Chicago area until 4 p.m. Monday.

About two to four inches are expected, with totals of up to five inches possible in some areas, especially near the Wisconsin border. Some additional lake effect accumulations around Chicago are likely later in the day.

Snow will taper to flurries in the afternoon. More snow is likely on Tuesday, with about another inch or two expected.

On Feb. 1, 2011, a two-day blizzard dropped 20.2 inches of snow at O’Hare International Airport. The storm — which included lightning, thunder and small hail — was the third-largest snowstorm on record in Chicago.

The average monthly snowfall for February in Chicago is 9.1 inches, the weather service said. The average temperature is 27.7 degrees.

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