Snow to Taper by Wednesday Evening

Heaviest snowfall is expected from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. with lighter snowfall to continue into the afternoon

The snowfall that plagued morning commuters in the Chicago area Wednesday is expected to taper by the early evening hours.

Once it moves out, the city could see a brief period of relief as temperatures warm into the 30s Thursday and near 40 by Friday.

Thursday is expected to be sunny and dry, but a chance for rain moves in Friday and that could to turn to snow by Saturday morning.

Moderate to heavy snow made for tough travel condition Wednesday morning as some areas saw more than 4 inches by the afternoon hours.

"Here we snow again. This will be the third day in a row that we've had snow in the forecast," said NBC 5 Storm Team Meteorologist Andy Avalos. "This will definitely have an impact on the morning rush hour."

The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory, which was in effect from 5 a.m. until noon Wednesday, warning that snow could accumulate at a rate of half an inch per hour.

The heaviest snowfall fell during the early morning hours, with lighter snowfall expected to continue into the afternoon as the system gradually moves south.

The Department of Streets and Sanitation deployed 160 snowplows and salt spreaders to main streets and Lake Shore Drive, according to a release from spokeswoman Molly Poppe. Plows will focus on clearing arterial routes first before moving on to neighborhood streets after the snow stops falling.

The other weather issue of the day is temperatures. They were in the teens and low 20s as of 4:30 a.m., but a brisk breeze pushed the wind chill value into the single digits.

Third Snowiest Winter, Fourth Snowiest Season -- So Far

As of Wednesday morning, the total snow accumulation for this winter recorded at O'Hare International Airport, where the official measurements are taken, stood at 67.4 inches, making this winter the third snowiest since records began being kept in 1884.

Winter is defined as Dec. 1 through the end of February.

The second snowiest winter was in 1977-78, with 71.2 inches. The snowiest season on record was 1978-79, with 80.6 inches.

When looking at the winter season as a whole, 2013-2014 ranks as the fourth snowiest as of Tuesday, with 73.5 inches recorded so far.

Wednesday's snowfall could reach or surpass the the 1969-70 season, which recorded 77.0 inches.

In the number two spot is the 1977-78 season, with 82.3 inches. The all-time snowiest season was the 1978-79 season, with a whopping 89.7 inches of snow.

The National Weather Service says Chicago has had two normal seasons worth of snow in the 2013-2014 winter season.

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