CHICAGO (CBS) — With Chicago still in a deep freeze, and more than a foot of snow already on the ground from a series of winter storms over the past couple weeks, many parts of Chicagoland have been blanketed with up to 18 inches of snow since Sunday.
Much of the city saw 1 to 1.5 FEET of snow. pic.twitter.com/qm0mvaZKn1READ MORE: 2 Officers Among 3 Injured In Loop Crash On State Street
— Robb Ellis (@WxRobb) February 16, 2021
CBS 2’s Mugo Odigwe is reporting live from the Mobile Weather Lab. Snow is creating dangerous driving conditions Tuesday. She said road signs and lanes are not visible in some areas, making it difficult for drivers to navigate the roads.
Tuesday marks nine days in a row with measurable snowfall in Chicago, tying a record set in February 2018. Since Sunday, some parts of the Chicago area have gotten up to 18 inches of snow:
- Evanston 18”
- Midway Airport 17.7”
- Lincoln Square 17.0”
- Albany Park 16.0”
- Douglas Park 16.9”
- Lakeview 14.5”
- Oak Lawn 14.5”
- Crown Point 11.3”
- Romeoville 7.8”
- O’Hare 7.5”
- Joliet 6.8”
City of Chicago provides an update on the overnight snow removal. Over 300 salt trucks and snow plows were deployed.
Over 300 city salt spreaders and plows worked through the night to respond to the largest snowfall of the year. We're still hard at work clearing snow across the city. ❄️🌨️ https://t.co/urb7kfeQjQ pic.twitter.com/p1xMxrPSYu
— Chicago (@chicago) February 16, 2021
Latest snow totals:
Much of the city saw 1 to 1.5 FEET of snow. pic.twitter.com/qm0mvaZKn1
— Robb Ellis (@WxRobb) February 16, 2021
Express lanes closed on the Kennedy Expressway.
Due to the large amount of snow, the gates on the Kennedy Expressway reversible lanes are not in operation this morning. The express lanes are closed.
Once crews clean them out later today, they will reopen. Updates to come. pic.twitter.com/ENR5RjIoe9
— IDOT_Illinois (@IDOT_Illinois) February 16, 2021
As of 7:09 a.m. Tuesday, 82 flights had been canceled at O’Hare International Airport and average delays were less than 15 minutes.
At Midway Airport, 73 flights have been canceled and average delays are less than 15 minutes.
CBS 2 meteorologist Robb Ellis will be reporting snow totals as they are released. Midway has reported nearly 2 more inches since the last snow total was released earlier Tuesday morning.
New snow totals coming in!
Midway up to 17.7"!!
Albany Park 16.0"
— Robb Ellis (@WxRobb) February 16, 2021
As of 6 a.m. Tuesday, 73 flights had been canceled at O’Hare International Airport and average delays were less than 15 minutes.
At Midway Airport, 68flights have been canceled and average delays are less than 15 minutes.
CTA is reporting delays and reroutes as snow creates dangerous driving conditions in the roads.
CHECK: CTA Updates
[Minor Delays / Reroute] 111 111th/King Drive buses are temporarily rerouted via 111th, Halsted, 115th, Wentworth, & 111th: due to, street blockage near 111th/Stewart.
— cta (@cta) February 16, 2021
IUN Alert: Campus is closed today, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021 due to extreme winter weather. All classes, and work for non-essential staff, will take place remotely
— IU Northwest (IUN) (@iunorthwest) February 16, 2021
CBS 2’s Mugo Odigwe is reporting live from the Mobile Weather Lab. She said driving conditions are dangerous and visibility is low.
“If you don’t have to go out this morning, it’s best to stay home,” she said.
Snow plows are working to clear roads, but heavy snowfall continues.
Tuesday, 4 a.m.
As preliminary snow totals are released, some areas reported nearly 16 inches of snow.
Midway Airport 15.9”
Oak Lawn 13.0”
O’Hare Airport 6.7”
CBS 2 Meteorologist Mary Kay Kleist reported in her latest update that the best accumulation for the snowstorm is likely to come between midnight at 2 a.m.
Snow totals as of the 10 p.m. hour were:
•: Valparaiso: 13.3 inches;
•: Harwood Heights: 12.3 inches;
•: Evanston: 12 inches;
•: Midway International Airport: 11.9 inches;
•: Oak Park: 11 inches;
•: Oak Lawn: 8.5 inches;
•: Chicago Loop: 7.8 inches.
All COVID-19 vaccination and testing sites operated by the City of Chicago will be closed Tuesday due to the snowstorm.
The Chicago Department of Public Health said people who made appointments for Tuesday will be notified of changes.
The city is assessing overall impact from the storm and will make decisions about testing and vaccine operations on a day-to-day basis.
The Chicago Transit Authority reported numerous problems in its ‘L’ train system Monday night due to track-switching problems.
As of 10:45 p.m., Orange Line trains were standing at the Midway terminal. Customers were advised to consider No. 62 Archer buses instead. Purple Line trains were also delayed, and Yellow Line Skokie Swift service was suspended altogether, due to track switching problems at the Howard terminal. Those problems also halted Red Line service for a time. Blue Line trains were also running with delays at Forest Park due to track-switching problems.
It was not immediately learned whether the snowstorm pounding the Chicago area Monday night was to blame for the track-switching problems.
CHECK: CTA Updates
As of 10 p.m., snow totaled 13.3 inches in Valparaiso; 11.9 inches at Midway International Airport; 8 inches in Evanston; 7.8 inches in the Loop; and 5.1 inches in Manhattan, Will County. Those numbers were far from final, as the peak of the storm was to persist into the overnight hours.
Two people were sent to the hospital in an accident at Route 45 and Independence Boulevard in north suburban Lindenhurst. Route 45 was described by a witness as ice with snow blowing across.
The snowstorm was almost at its peak intensity at 8:45 p.m., with the heaviest snow accumulation expected through 2 a.m., CBS 2 Meteorologist Mary Kay Kleist reported.
Lake-enhanced snow bands continued to keep snow rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour. Strong northeast winds gusting 30-35 mph will continue to create blowing and drifting snow with near zero visibility at times.
It appeared Monday night like the prime place for accumulation will be 2 to 3 miles on either side of a northeast-southwest line that stretched from Winnetka down through Evanston and then to Midway International Airport.
After the lake-effect snow tapers off by Tuesday afternoon, some locations along this corridor could reach the 15- to 20-inch mark for snow totals. While this is not a blizzard, the higher range of those totals is close to that of past major blizzards in Chicago.
As of 8:30 p.m. Monday, 234 flights had been canceled at O’Hare International Airport and average delays were less than 15 minutes.
At Midway Airport, 155 flights have been canceled and average delays are less than 15 minutes.
The City Colleges of Chicago announced Monday evening that all classes will be remote Tuesday because of the snowstorm.
Students who normally attend in-person classes should contact their instructors for information about Zoom sessions or assignments to continue their learning.
City Colleges child development labs and daycare centers will also be closed Tuesday.
Essential employees will still come in for work. The City Colleges’ COVID-19 vaccination sites will also stay open.
As of 8 p.m., plumes of lake-effect snow continued to sock several specific areas, including the lakefront between Rogers Park and Evanston, Oak Lawn, and around Frankfort swinging into Northwest Indiana.
CBS 2 Meteorologist Mary Kay Kleist expects 1- to 2-inch snowfalls to persist through midnight, steady accumulations overnight after that, and lake-enhanced snow even in the morning.
Another 6 to 10 inches are still set to fall near the lake on top of what has already fallen.
Cook County health officials announced late Monday that they will be closing several coronavirus vaccination sites Tuesday due to the snowstorm pounding the Chicago area.READ MORE: 2 Injured After Car Crashes Into Building In Englewood
Vaccinations will continue at Stroger Hospital of Cook County, Provident Hospital of Cook County, and the Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center. But all other locations – including large-scale sites – will be closed Tuesday.
The decision was made due to the prospect of dangerous travel conditions because of the snowstorm.
Patients who have appointments for vaccination on Tuesday will be contacted and rescheduled this week. Those with questions may call (833) 308-1988 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
At the sites that will still be open, the Cook County Vaccine Program will conduct a limited release of 5,000 new first-dose appointments on Tuesday.
The Chicago Public Schools have canceled all in-person classes for Tuesday on account of a monstrous snowstorm.
Only pre-K and cluster programs are currently in person in school. On Tuesday, they will join all other grades and learn remotely.
As of 6 p.m., CBS 2 Meteorologist Mary Kay Kleist reported storm spotters measured 7 inches of snow in Wilmette, as well as Chatsworth in Livingston County. Totals of 5 inches were reported in Westchester, and 4.5 inches in Oak Lawn.
This was only the beginning, as it was the result of lake-effect snow bands ahead of the snowstorm system that was blowing in as night fell.
The snowstorm has left many side streets in Chicago nearly impassable, and it could be a while before those streets are cleared. First, the snow will have to stop, and then Department of Streets and Sanitation snow plows will have to keep arterial streets and Lake Shore Drive clear before getting to side streets as per protocol.
In the meantime, it will be tough and treacherous to get around on side streets. In Uptown at 5 p.m., it was very slow going and cars were virtually buried – with small snow embankments next to the tires in some of the parked carts. There were also tire tracks in the middle of the road, which in some cases made a necessary path for other drivers to get down the streets at all.
CBS 2 Meteorologist Mary Kay Kleist reported all systems are coming together – with intense lake-effect snow hitting Cook County the strongest.
As of 5 p.m., steady snow was pounding the Near West Side near the Eisenhower Expressway between Damen and Ashland avenues, and also near Midway International Airport extending south to Burbank and Worth and north to the city’s West Side.
Localized intense bands of snow were also seen in Northwest Indiana, and were combining with the storm system snow that was blowing in late in the afternoon.
The intensity will increase after sunset, with 1 to 2 inches per hour through midnight and steady accumulation in the overnight hours.
As of 4:50 p.m., airlines have canceled 213 flights at O’Hare International Airport, and another 147 flights at Midway International Airport.
The University of Chicago is canceling all in-person classes and non-essential activities between 2:30 p.m. Monday and noon Tuesday. COVID-19 testing sites also closed at 2:30 p.m. Monday and will reopen at noon Tuesday.
All university libraries will be closed, but University of Chicago Medicine hospitals and clinics will continue to operate. The university’s student wellness center also will remain open for virtual care, but any non-urgent in-person appointments might be rescheduled.
“University employees whose presence on campus is not critical are not expected to come to campus; employees who can perform their jobs remotely should do so. Employees should consult with their supervisors about questions specific to their roles and assignments. UChicago Medicine and Biological Sciences Division personnel who perform essential clinical or other functions will be expected to work,” the university said in a statement.
All residence halls will remain open, and the university’s transportation services, including shuttle buses, will operate on a regular schedule.
Students and staff should check the university’s website for updates.
The Laboratory Schools and the University of Chicago Charter Schools also will be closed by 3 p.m. on Monday, and will send separate emails with specific details of those schools’ closing plans.
DePaul University has canceled all in-person classes for Monday evening (Starting at 5 p.m.) and all day on Tuesday due to the winter storm.
The Student Center and The Ray in Lincoln Park will be open on a reduced schedule Tuesday, but the rest of the university’s academic buildings will be closed, including all libraries. Only employees in essential roles need to report to campus on Tuesday. Employees working from home should continue to do so.
The Lincoln Park Student Center at DePaul will be open Tuesday for food service between 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., and again from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The Ray Meyer Fitness and Recreation Center will be open noon to 8 p.m. as well. Parking lots and garages at the university’s Lincoln Park campus will be open on Tuesday.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot and other top city officials provided an update on the city’s snow response Monday afternoon, urging people to avoid travel unless necessary during the winter storm.
“Obviously, we know a thing or two about extreme weather here in Chicago, and at some points during today, it looked like a scene from Dr. Zhivago,” Lightfoot said. “This is an all hands on deck moment, and we are ready to make sure that our city continues to function, even in this extreme weather circumstance.”
The mayor said the heavy snow and extreme cold make it the perfect day to stay inside and watch TV or read a book, but noted “for many, today’s weather poses serious challenges to being safe and getting around.”
Lightfoot said extreme weather exacerbates challenges homeless, elderly, disabled, and other vulnerable residents face.
Two city warming centers will operate 24 hours a day through 5 p.m. on Friday: the Garfield Community Center at 10 S. Kedzie, and King Community Service Center at 4314 S. Cottage Grove Av. Four other city community centers are open as warming centers Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.:
- Englewood Community Service Center
1140 West 79th Street, Chicago, IL 60620
- North Area Community Service Center
845 West Wilson Avenue, Chicago, IL 60640
- South Chicago Community Service Center
8650 South Commercial Avenue, Chicago, IL 60617
- Trina Davila Community Service Center
4312 West North Avenue, Chicago, IL 60639
Dozens of other public buildings also serve as warming centers during normal business hours, including 58 Chicago Park District locations; the Chicago Cultural Center, Harold Washington Library Center, and the city’s three regional libraries. Chicago Police stations also are available as warming centers 24 hours a day.
Department of Streets and Sanitation Commissioner John Tully said the city’s full fleet of more than 300 salt spreaders and snow plows has been out clearing streets since Monday morning, focusing first on the city’s arterial roads and Lake Shore Drive.
“We need to prioritize keeping the main streets clean before we can move to those residential streets, and we will get to picking up the residential garbage as soon as the time allows,” he said.
City officials also urged Chicagoans to shovel and salt the sidewalks outside their homes and businesses, and asked that they dump the snow on parkways, rather than in the street.
Office of Emergency Management and Communications executive director Rich Guidice urged people to avoid driving in the extreme weather conditions that are expected to last through Tuesday morning. If you do need to drive anywhere, Guidice advised keeping a flashlight, blanket, snacks, and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency.
Buildings Department Commissioner Matthew Beaudet said landlords in Chicago are required to keep their buildings at a minimum temperature of 68° from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., and at least 66° from 10:30 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. They can be fined up to $1,000 per day per violation. If your landlord is not keeping your building warm enough, call 311.
“There are no excuses. Landlords must provide adequate heat for their renters,” Beaudet said.
He also said people should not go up on their roofs to clear away snow, even though the city already has had approximately 28 inches of snowfall over the previous 19 days, and could get up to another foot Monday into Tuesday.
“Please do not go on top of a roof. It is not safe. There are professionals that do that for a living. If you go up on your roof, you don’t know what you’re stepping on underneath. You don’t know what’s underneath that snow. You don’t know if you’re in a soft spot … or a vent or anything,” he said.
The commissioner also said you can risk falling off the roof, or damaging the roof by trying to shovel off snow.
“Again, just let nature take it’s course, and the snow will eventually melt,” he said.
Lightfoot said the Chicago Public Schools also will be tracking weather developments closely throughout the day on Monday, and will make an announcement no later than 5 p.m. regarding in-person classes for Tuesday.
Currently, only students in pre-kindergarten and some special education programs have returned to in-person classes, with elementary school students phasing in over the next few weeks.
In-person classes at public schools in Gary, Indiana will be canceled on Tuesday and Wednesday due to the snow. Online instruction will continue for those two days, and in-person learning will resume on Thursday.
School food distribution will take place on Tuesday at all four usual locations via curbside pickup.
There are two parts to the winter storm affecting the Chicago area. According to meteorologist Mary Kay Kleist, there are lake effect bands taking place now with a plume of very heavy snow coming into Cook county now. Snowfall rates of up to two per hour possible. Visibility could near zero at times.
The second part is the major winter storm crippling much of the country will bring accumulating snow to the Chicago area with sunset.
The Winter Storm Warning is in effect until noon Tuesday for Cook and Lake counties in Illinois. And until 9:00 a.m. Tuesday for DuPage, Will, Kendall, Grundy, Kankakee and all of northwest Indiana.
The highest snowfall amounts will be near the lakefront, due to lake enhanced snow bands. Lake effect snow continues through Monday night and through Tuesday morning. A foot or more possible near the lake due to the system snow combining with lake enhancement.
TONIGHT: Heavy Snow. Low 8.
TUESDAY: Lakeside snow showers. Partly sunny inland. High 19.
WEDNESDAY: Mostly cloudy. High 2.
More than 200 flights have been canceled at Chicago’s airports, including 120 canceled flights at O’Hare International Airport and 128 canceled flights at Midway International Airport.
CBS 2 meteorologist Ed Curran says the Chicago area will be under a Winter Storm Warning through Tuesday.
Heavy lake effect snow will continue for most of the Chicago area throughout the day on Monday into Tuesday, with amounts of more than a foot likely for some areas.
Totals will vary widely, as some locations could see as little as 4 inches, while others just a mile or two away may have more than a foot.
CBS 2 Meteorologist Robb Ellis reports some lake effect snow bands set up over parts of the city this morning, bringing heavy snowfall to the lakefront and downtown.
When they meander away, snow stops dramatically quickly. This will be the nature of most of our day.
More widespread snow is expected later this evening, with heavier rates underneath lake enhancement.
More than 200 flights have been canceled at Chicago’s airports, including 94 canceled flights at O’Hare International Airport and 110 canceled flights at Midway International Airport.
The City of Evanston has enacted an overnight snow route parking ban from 11 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, and Snow Emergency even/odd street side parking restrictions are in effect Tuesday and Wednesday.
All Evanston Parks and Recreation activities will be canceled Tuesday, and all recreation community centers will be closed, except the Robert Crown Center, which will be open as a warming center only, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
A Winter Storm Warning is in place for most of the area until Tuesday morning. A Wind Chill Advisory is in place for counties west of the city until noon Monday. Temperatures will be near 12 degrees with low temperature near 6 degrees.
The storm could bring as much as 8 to 12 inches of snow, especially in Chicago. Heaviest amounts of snow will be over the city and lakeshore, and then south and east of the city.
Snow will continue to fall overnight.
Lake effect snow will linger Tuesday morning. Temperatures will rise to the 20s by the end of the week.
Now you see the Windy City…and now you don't. 👀
It is snowing heavy over Chicago's urban center. With such low visibility regularly through at least early afternoon, consider postponing travel in/near downtown. Weather is not convenient, and today is one of those days! #ILwx pic.twitter.com/yW9K2J4WZi
— NWS Chicago (@NWSChicago) February 15, 2021
The city has deployed its full fleet of 287 salt spreaders and snow plows to respond to the winter storm. The city will focus on clearing arterial streets and Lake Shore Drive until the snow stops, and then begin clearing residential side streets.
Chicagoans are advised to avoid any unnecessary travel as roads will be slick, and visibility could be very limited at times.
You can track the city’s fleet of snow plows at chicagoshovels.org.MORE NEWS: Burnham Residents Furious After CARES Act Money Was Used For Water Bill Credits, But Only For Those With Meters