Shovels, snow blowers and salt spreaders were out in full force Thursday night and Friday morning as the Chicago area dealt with Mother Nature's latest offering: a wintry mix of rain and snow.
The storm dumped up to nine inches of snow on parts of McHenry County, evidenced by huge snow banks and plow truck drivers working through the night to get to side roads and parking lots. In Gurnee and Antioch, roads were a sloppy mess.
While precipitation appeared to have tapered off a bit in downtown Chicago at about 8:30 p.m., a Winter Weather Advisory remained in effect for Cook, DuPage, Kane and DeKalb counties until midnight. Lake and McHenry counties were under a Winter Storm Warning until midnight.
As of 8 p.m., the winter weather had caused the cancellation of more than 225 flights at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and delayed both inbound and outbound flights by about an hour. Delays and cancellations were significantly less at Midway International. Travelers were advised to check FlyChicago.com or remain in contact with their airlines for the most up-to-date information.
Chicago's Department of Streets & Sanitation put out 199 snow trucks to patrol Lake Shore Drive and the city's main thoroughfares. Trucks were salting the roadways but plowing as needed, officials said.
The Illinois Tollway mobilized all available resources to keep shoulders, ramps and toll plazas across the 286-mile system clear, a release from the Tollway said.
Since the snowfall began early Thursday, Tollway officials said they helped nearly 50 drivers change tires, charge car batteries, get fuel and call for tows.
Salt was proving to be extremely effective because most area temperatures remained right above the freezing mark. Most thoroughfares and arterial streets were just wet and slushy.
Once the storm passes Thursday night, the next chance of precipitation will be Sunday, the weather service said. But by then the highs will be in the lower 40s and the precipitation will be all rain. But conditions were expected to be significantly worse in the population-dense east coast, where up to two feet of snow was predicted to fall in the days ahead in a convergence of two strong storms.
A planned visit to Chicago by NBC News' "Today" show anchors Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie was canceled Thursday in advance of the storm.
Area Snow Totals:
- Beach Park: 10"
- Marengo -- 6"
- Belvidere -- 2.5"
- Romeoville -- 0.3"
- Lake in the Hills -- 6.1
- O'Hare -- 1.4
- Midway -- 0.6