Updated 01/01/14 – 8:49 p.m.
CHICAGO (STMW) — Snow that started Tuesday continues to pile up Wednesday evening, grounding more than 600 flights at Chicago airports and leaving residents in some suburbs with as many as 11 inches of snow.
After the current snowstorm tapers off Wednesday evening, a separate lake effect snow system will move into town Thursday. This second wave of snow could dump 8 to 10 more inches of snow near the lakefront in Lake and Cook Counties in Illinois and Lake County, Ind., by Thursday evening.
Portions of those counties farther from the lake could only see another inch or two of snow, forecasters say. However, areas near Lake Michigan could see snow pile up at two inches every hour, creating near-zero visibility and “very hazardous” driving conditions.
Those three counties are under a lake effect snow warning until 3 p.m. Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. A winter weather advisory remains in effect until midnight for all other Chicago-area counties.
As of Wednesday afternoon, 11.3 inches of snow have fallen in northwest suburban Libertyville, and nearly 10 inches are on the ground in north suburban Gurnee and Beach Park, the weather service is reporting.
Four inches of snow fell at O’Hare Airport by noon, and the white stuff was still coming down, the weather service said.
Elk Grove Village, Elgin and Niles all have more than 7 inches of snow as of 4 p.m. In the western suburbs, Lombard and Elburn had 6 and 5 inches of snow, respectively. Farther south, Oak Lawn and La Grange Park each had about 2.5 inches of snow.
The weather service warns that roads could be treacherous Wednesday between the snowfall and cold temperatures.
“The best recommendation is to enjoy the snow from inside. Unless absolutely neceessary, it’s best to avoid traveling,” meteorologist Richard Castro said.
The snow prompted airlines to cancel 630 flights at O’Hare Airport Wednesday, according to the city’s Department of Aviation. Flights at O’Hare are running about 30 minutes late.
Though no flights had been cancelled at Midway Airport as of 3:30 p.m., flights were delayed about 50 minutes.
The high temperature Thursday is projected to be between 17 and 21 degrees, but the lows will hover around zero in the city and minus 5 degrees to minus 9 degrees in the suburbs. Wind-chill values could sink to minus 10 to 20 degrees.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2014. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)