Chicago Rings in New Year With Snow

Weather creates back-breaking cleanup work on holiday; prompts cancelation of hundreds of flights

It was sort of like Mother Nature's confetti to celebrate the New Year's Day holiday.

All-day snowfall throughout much of the Chicago area on Tuesday and Wednesday made getting to parties more difficult and made for back-breaking cleanup work on the holiday.

The light but steady snowfall for two days made for impressive totals throughout the area by Wednesday evening: 12 inches in Wadsworth, 9 inches in Wauconda, and 9.5 inches in Hawthorn Woods, all in Lake County. O'Hare International Airport recorded 4.8 inches of snow while Midway International Airport recorded 4.6 inches.

Elk Grove Village, Elgin and Niles all had more than 7 inches of snow as of 4 p.m. In the western suburbs, Lombard and Elburn had 6 and 5 inches of snow, respectively. Farther south, Oak Lawn and La Grange Park each had about 2.5 inches of snow.

The Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation deployed its entire fleet of 287 snow removal vehicles.

"Snow plows and salt spreaders will focus on keeping main streets and Lake Shore Drive safe and passable before transitioning to side and residential streets to keep Chicago moving," according to a press release from the department.

The weather forced the cancelation of hundreds of flights at Chicago's airports. There were more than 600 cancelations at O'Hare alone, aviation officials said.

The other half of the weather story on Wednesday was the temperatures that were a far cry from the 50s felt over the last weekend.

The day's highs were only in the 20s with the wind chill pushing the mercury into the single digits and lower.

Chicago's Office of Emergency Management of Communications issued a warning to residents about the cold weather, urging people to keep emergency kits in their vehicles along with blankets and cables.

Homeowners should insulate exposed pipes and check carbon monoxide detectors, and pet owners should limit their outside exposure.

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