Not everyone cringed when looking out the window Monday morning at the snow.
“To be honest with you I thought, ‘It’s about time,'” said Paul Oushana, 40, whose auto body shop at Hubbard and Ogden has taken a hit to its bottom line this winter — because the lack of snow has cut down on fender-benders.
“This is good for business,” he said with a sheepish smile. “Body shops have been pretty slow this year in general because of the lack of snow.”
Nick Young was also jazzed for the snow and the prospect of cross country skiing in Humboldt Park after he knocks off work at the Art Institute, where he manages the audio visual department.
“I hope it’s enough snow,” said Young, 36, who rode his bike to work Monday.
Also excited for the snow: the polar bears, lynx, red pandas and snow leopards at the Lincoln Park Zoo.
“They haven’t seen that much snow this winter, so this will be a nice change of pace,” said Dave Bernier, the zoo’s general curator.
“And the zoo is just clean and white and looks beautiful,” he added.
As of 10 a.m., 2.2 inches of snow had accumulated at O’Hare International Airport, bringing this winter’s total snowfall to 21 inches, well below the seasonal average of 32.3 inches, said Edward Fenelon, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
And the snow isn’t done. A winter weather advisory remains in effect until 1 p.m. Monday for Cook, DuPage and Lake counties, and a lake effect snow warning is in effect between 7 p.m. Monday and 4 p.m. Tuesday.
The light snow will continue Monday morning before tapering off to flurries in the afternoon, according to the weather service. A band of heavy lake effect snow is then expected to develop over northeastern Illinois Monday evening and continue into Tuesday morning. Between five and nine inches of new snow could accumulate.
Prior to Monday, the last snow fall greater than an inch occurred December 17 when 1.7 inches accumulated in Chicago.
In the months of January and February, not an inch of snow accumulation was recorded in Chicago – a first in recorded history.
Meanwhile, at the city’s airports, more than 500 flights had been canceled by early Monday morning — 412 at O’Hare International Airport and 98 flights at Midway International Airport.
The city’s Department of Streets and Sanitation deployed 287 snow plows overnight to tackle the snowy weather. The plows focus on salting and plowing arterial routes to ensure the roads are safe before moving to neighborhood streets, if necessary.
While Chicago braced for its first snowfall in months, larger snowstorms were expected on the East Coast. A blizzard watch was issued for the Boston area, with 12 to 18 inches of snow expected to fall over eastern Massachusetts as well as central and southern Rhode Island, according to the weather service.
Contributing: Jordan Owen