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Here We Go Again; Snow, Bitter Cold Return

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Updated 01/21/14 – 12:01 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) – Bitter cold temperatures and heavy snow have returned to the Chicago area, making for a messy commute.

Heavy snowfall in the area led to a traffic standstill on I-80/94 in northwest Indiana late Tuesday morning, according to Indiana State Police. Drivers were advised to avoid that area, if possible.

A narrow band of lake effect snow came down the lakefront starting late Monday night, beginning in the northern suburbs, then moving to northwest Indiana.

The system could drop 6 to 8 inches of snow in northwest Indiana on Tuesday, depending on how long it takes to move through the region. The Indiana Department of Transportation said it would have 170 snow plows on the roads to try and keep them clear for drivers.

Chicago’s official snow total, as of 7 a.m., was 5.9 inches at O’Hare International Airport; although Midway Airport saw 7.2 inches, and the South Loop saw up to 6.9 inches, according to the National Weather Service. The Rogers Park neighborhood got 6.5 inches.

The city deployed its full fleet of 287 snow plows and salt spreaders late Monday night. Those trucks will continue clearing the city’s main roadways throughout the morning, and switch to side streets once main roads are clear.

At O’Hare, airlines had canceled 150 flights by 7:30 a.m., and at Midway, airlines had canceled 30 flights, due to the snow.

In addition to the heavy snow, temperatures dropped into the single digits overnight, with the temperature dropping as low as 2 degrees at O’Hare, with a wind chill as low as 10 below zero. At Midway, the temperature hit 4 degrees by 7 a.m., and the wind chill dropped to 17 below zero.

Later Monday morning, the clouds will begin to break in Chicago as the sun comes up, but the high is likely to reach only 10 degrees, then drop to 2 below zero overnight.

As the lake effect snow moved into northwest Indiana, low visibility on local roadways was making it very difficult to see, and – when combined with slick pavement – was leading to several spinouts and crashes on the roads in Illinois and Indiana.

Road salt was having little effect on the fallen snow, thanks to the very cold temperatures.

While the snow stopped in much of Chicago and the surrounding suburbs by 6 a.m. Tuesday, residents had plenty of digging out to do. Motorists should give themselves extra time to get where they’re going on Tuesday, so they can clear off their cars, and drive slowly on the snowy and icy roads.