Chicago Winter Weather Brings Storm, Massive Flight Cancellations at O'Hare
Chicago is being hit by another winter snowstorm causing public transportation delays, long expressway travel times, and massive flight cancellations at area airports. These problems are further stressing groaning streets and sanitation budgets in Chicago and its surrounding suburbs, which are already over-spent from dealing with this winter's snowfall.
Some expect that this storm could dump up to eight inches of fresh snow upon the city. However, whatever its final tally, the storm is already causing havoc in Chicago.
Weathermen in the Chicago area are even reporting incidents of "thunder snow," a phenomenon that is essentially a thunder storm in subzero temperatures, something that happens but infrequently. The last time Chicago experienced "thunder snow" was in 2011.
Airports have been hit particularly hard with over a thousand flights canceled by the afternoon at both O'Hare and Chicago's Midway. As FlightAware.com reports, 1,523 flights have been canceled across the US with another 6,365 being delayed due to the weather.
Weather has been so bad today that a jet skidded off the runway at the DuPage County Airport.
Snow began in the late morning and rose to near white-out conditions by 3 p.m., with visibility less than a quarter of a mile.
The Chicago Tribune noted snowfall was widespread across the region: "As of 4 p.m., 5.6 inches were reported in Peotone, 5 inches in LaSalle, 4.9 inches in St. Charles and Oak Forest, 4.7 in Hoffman Estates, 4.6 inches at Midway, 4 at Streator, Elburn and Warrenville, 3.8 in Batavia and Rockford, 3.5 in Rogers Park in Chicago, 3.2 in Somonauk, 3.1 in Bartlett, 3 in Riverwoods, 2.9 in Berwyn, 2.5 at O'Hare, 2.3 in Elburn, 1.9 in Cary and 1.3 at O'Hare and Midway airports."
Chicago's O'Hare registered a total snowfall for this winter of 65.4 inches, just shy of the 1951-52 winter record of 66.4 inches. It seems likely that by the end of the night the 1952 record will be bested.
This winter has already forced the budget of the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation into the red. The Windy City's snow removal budget is already $4.5 million over-spent for 2014 – and remember, there is more winter coming at the end of the year.
The region is expected to get a major break from this harsh winter later in the week as temperatures are expected to top 40 degrees by the coming weekend.