Storm Bears Down on Chicagoland

Snowfall predictions say 5-8 inches bound for Chicago

Had enough, Chicago?

Mother Nature handed down her second winter storm in as many weeks on Friday, prompting scores of cancellations, making traveling conditions a test of patience and blanketing the area with several inches of snow.

The Winter Storm Warning issued by the National Weather Service expired at 9 p.m., though snowfall is expected to continue into the late night hours.

A Winter Weather Advisory remains in effect until midnight for several counties in northwest Indiana.

Meteorologist predictions of about 8 inches of snow proved fairly accurate. As of 8:30 p.m.:

Naperville -- 7.2"
Clarendon Hills -- 7.5"
Bolingbrook -- 7.6"
Portage, Ind., -- 8.2"
Joliet -- 9.1"

Earlier in the day, the heavy snowfall greatly reduced visibility. O'Hare and Midway airports both reported less than a quarter-mile viability by 1:30 p.m..

Hundreds of road crews were out battling the storm. The city put out its full fleet of 278 snow-fighting trucks and the Illinois Tollway said it was keeping its fleet of 183 plows on the 286-mile system throughout the overnight hours.

“Snowfall may be intense at times and that can limit visibility, so motorists will need to drive with increased caution and patience,” said Streets & San Commissioner Tom Byrne. “Motorists should allow for longer travel times today, especially during the evening rush hour.”

Temperatures in the teens, however, will make road salt less effective.

The first flurries flew around 9:40 a.m. downtown Chicago after the coldest morning so far this season with temperatures in the single digits.

Chicago's Department Family and Support Services urged residents to check on neighbors.

"We are especially concerned about the elderly," said Joel Mitchell with the Department of Family and Support Services. "We're especially concerned about people with disabilities and again, we're especially concerned about our homeless population."

The city's warming centers and homeless shelters are available for those who need them. Residents should call 311 if they need assistance.

Chicago's first significant snow of the year last week dropped six inches in Chicago and neighboring suburbs.

NBC Chicago will have live weather updates on television throughout the day Friday as the storm rolls into the area. This post will also be continually updated. 

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[View the story "Jan. 20, 2012 Winter Storm" on Storify]

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