The latest winter storm to smack Chicago didn't hit as hard as expected, but still left as much as 7 inches of heavy, slushy snow that tied up the morning commute once again and moved this season to the third snowiest on record.
The worst of the snow ended around daybreak and the National Weather Service cut its winter storm warning by two hours, expiring at 11 a.m. today instead of 1 p.m.
Accumulation ranged from a trace in Spring Grove to 7.3 inches in Homer Glen. At O'Hare, 3.6 inches of snow was recorded overnight, enough to move this season to the third snowiest on record, with a total of 79.1 inches. In second place is the 1977-78 season with 82.3 inches, first place is the 1978-79 season with 89.7 inches. Our next shot at snow is Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.
The hardest hit were the south suburbs, with 6 or more inches reported across the area: Burnham 6.5 inches, New Lenox 6.5 inches, Plainfield 6.2 inches, Lockport 6 inches, Crest Hill 6 inches, Palos Park 6 inches.
Dozens of schools were closed for the day in the south suburbs, including District 114 in Manhattan, District 154 in Burnham, District 157 in Frankfort, District 161 in Flossmoor and District 200 in Beecher.
Elsewhere, 5.2 inches were reported at Midway Airport and Downers Grove, 4.5 inches at Portage, Ind., 4.1 inches in Romeoville, 4 inches in North Aurora, 3.8 inches in St. Charles and 3 inches in Elk Grove Village, according to the Chicago Weather Center. (Click here for list of area totals from weather service)
The blowing snow, whipped by gusts of 40 mph, made for a challenging commute.
Metra had "minor" delays due to the weather this morning on several lines but "no huge" problems, said spokeswoman Meg Reile.
"All in all, things have been OK so far," considering the overnight snowstorm, Reile said.
Delays of anywhere from 10 to 25 minutes were reported for a few trains on the Metra Electric, SouthWest Service, and Rock Island lines, Reile said. Those lines serve the South Side and suburbs, which were hit harder by the snow than other areas, she said. The Electric Line delays were due to a switching problem, Reile said.
CTA reported no delays.
Travel times on expressways were more than double in some spots early during the morning commute but improved. State police reported dozens of crashes, mostly spinouts and cars skidding into walls. No major injuries were reported.
At O'Hare, more than 240 flights were canceled and about 180 were delayed. At Midway, about 70 flights were canceled.
The heavy snow pulled down power lines. As of 7 a.m., 40,000 customers were without electricity, according to Commonwealth Edison.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun