Weather Grounds 480 Flights As Heavy Snowfall Hits Chicago
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CHICAGO (STMW) — As snowfall began to taper off and move into Indiana, city snow plows turned their attention to side and residential streets Saturday evening.
The city’s department of Streets and Sanitation redeployed its entire fleet of 287 plows and salt spreaders to side and residential streets Saturday night, in addition to 26 smaller four-wheel drive plows, according to a statement from spokeswoman Mary Poppe. The fleet was first deployed to arterial streets and Lake Shore Drive as snow began to fall Friday night, with the intention of redeploying crews to side streets once snow stopped falling and main streets were clear.
By 6 p.m., O’Hare International Airport reported 4 inches of snow, and Midway had received 5.3 inches, according to the National Weather Service.
The heaviest snowfall hit the south suburbs and areas in northwest Indiana, the weather service said. By 6 p.m., south suburban Lansing had received 7 inches of snow.
Snowfall began to taper off by Saturday evening as the storm traveled southeast toward Indiana, and temperatures were not forecasted to dip below 5 degrees, meteorologists said. Warmer temperatures are a result of air pushed up from the Gulf of Mexico.
Illinois State Police cautioned drivers in the Chicago area that whiteout conditions were possible Saturday. Drivers were asked to be aware of black ice and carry emergency supplies in their vehicles.
The Illinois Tollway deployed its full fleet of 182 snow plows and salt spreaders to clear roadways on its 286-mile system, the agency reported.
As of 3:30 p.m. Saturday, airlines at O’Hare had canceled 375 flights due to winter weather conditions and were experiencing delays of at least 30 minutes, the city’s Department of Aviation said. Midway was experiencing similar delays and at least 105 flights had been canceled at that airport.
Sunday is expected to be dry, with temperatures in the teens, according to the weather service.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2014. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)