Updated 02/02/15 – 10:47 a.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — After nearly 36 straight hours of snowfall, the Chicago area was digging out from more than 19 inches of snow across the region, making it the 5th largest snowstorm in the city’s history, and the snow was still falling early Monday.READ MORE: Body Camera Video Shows Shootout With University Of Chicago Police Officer That Left Man Critically Wounded In Hyde Park
As of 6 a.m., a total of 19.3 inches had fallen at O’Hare International Airport since the snowstorm began around 7:30 p.m. Saturday. At Midway International Airport, 19.2 inches had fallen as of 6 a.m. Monday.
In other parts of the Chicago area, 18 inches had fallen in Lincolnwood, 17 inches had fallen in Somonauk, 13.5 inches had fallen in Schererville, 15.2 inches had fallen in Portage, 17 inches had fallen in Libertyville, and 14 inches had fallen in Naperville.
“This is a historic snowfall,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Sunday night. “In a 24-hour period, it’s going to be one of the top three in the history of the city of Chicago.”
The national weather service said, with the 19.3 inches of snow measured at O’Hare, the snowstorm was already the 5th largest in Chicago history, and snow was still falling in the city when the latest measurement was taken at O’Hare. While the blizzard itself had left the Chicago area and shifted to the East Coast by early Monday morning, lake effect snow falling for several hours Monday morning in northeastern Illinois and northwestern Indiana. By about 7:40 a.m., the lake effect snow had shifted mostly to northwest Indiana.
The heavy snow prompted the Chicago Public Schools and most other school districts in the area to cancel classes on Monday, as roads were treacherous, and in the city, plows had yet to clear most side streets by the time students would have gone to school.
The city’s plows spent more than 36 hours focusing on main streets and Lake Shore Drive after the storm started. City officials said snow removal vehicles began clearing side streets around 8:30 a.m. Monday.
The full fleet of 500 pieces of snow removal equipment included 350 plows and salt spreaders, and 150 pieces of heavy equipment that will be used to remove snow piles, and keep snow cleared from areas near hospitals, firehouses, police stations, and schools.
The blizzard also was grounding thousands of flights at the city’s two airports.
On Sunday, airlines canceled more than 1,300 flights at O’Hare, and more than 300 flights at Midway, according to the city’s Aviation Department. As of 10:30 a.m. Monday, airlines had canceled more than 850 additional flights at O’Hare, and more than 135 others at Midway.
Snow also obscured many lane markings on roads and expressways. Some three- or four-lane expressways and roads were down to only one or two lanes in some spots. With plows expected to be on the roads for much of the day, drivers were advised to keep at least one lane of traffic between them and any snow-fighting vehicles.