A fast-moving snow storm halted the area's holiday commute, causing multiple spinouts and two crashes that temporarily shut down Lake Shore Drive.
The first snow rolled in around 4:15 a.m., and Chicago's Department of Streets & Sanitation dispatched 183 salt trucks that hit the streets by 5:01 a.m.
"This whole New Year's weekend we've been very diligent in regards to what can happen," said Streets and San Commissioner Tom Byrne. "Obviously anything can happen out there very quickly, and that happened this morning."
Commuter traffic was light for the New Year's holiday, but two accidents still were reported on Lake Shore Drive, one on McFetridge Drive, the other involving eight to 10 cars at Randolph Street. Both were multiple-car accidents, resulting in an LSD shutdown. Two minor injuries were reported.
By 8 a.m., the Drive reopened and salt trucks finished plowing main streets, moving to side roads, Byrne said.
Outside Chicago, the Eisenhower Expressway was ice-covered. Crashes were seen on the outbound Ike at York and Western, among others. On the southbound Tri-State, a crash blocked the left lane at the Hinsdale Oasis.
"Just be careful. It's very, very difficult out there," Byrne said. "Even with salt, it's still slippery and wet, and when streets start to dry up ... we know we're ok. Drive carefully. A fender bender can turn into a 20-car accident."
About a year ago, Lake Shore Drive was shut down during the Blizzard of 2011, Chicago's third largest snowstorm ever. Hundreds of cars were trapped on LSD.
This first snow of the year pales in comparison. Mere flurries are expected in Chicago the rest of the week with temps reaching mid-30s by the week's end.