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Visibility greatly reduced as up to 3 inches of snow falls on Chicago

The National Weather Service is warning drivers that visibility could be reduced to less than a quarter-mile Sunday as up to 3 inches of snow is expected to fall across the Chicago area throughout the afternoon.

As of noon, 1.3 inches of snow had accumulated at O’Hare International Airport, National Weather Service Meteorologist Matt Friedlein said. At Midway, 1.1 inches of snow had fallen.

Between 1 and 3 inches of snow is expected through midday Sunday, Friedlein said. Most of that will show up north of Interstate 80 and taper off in the late afternoon.

As the snow continues to fall, winds gusting up to more than 30 mph can cause sharply reduced visibility, according to the weather service. Motorists are advised to use extra caution and plan for longer travel times.

As of 7:30 a.m., nearly 70 flights had been canceled at O’Hare, but airlines were not reporting any delays, according to the city’s Department of Aviation. No delays or cancellations had been reported at Midway.

The city’s full fleet of more than 280 snow plows and salt spreaders were sent out early Sunday to main streets and Lake Shore Drive, the Department of Streets and Sanitation said in a statement.

Arterial routes and Lake Shore Drive would be the first to be salted and plowed, the department said. Work would continue to neighborhood streets once the snow has stopped.

The night leading into Monday doesn’t get any better, according to the weather service. A wind chill advisory and winter storm watch were issued for several suburban areas, including Cook, DuPage, Kane and Will counties.

Wind chill values could drop as low as 30 degrees below zero between midnight Monday to noon later that afternoon, the weather service said in an advisory for that time period. Frostbite in those conditions can occur “in a matter of minutes,” the advisory said.

The winter storm watch—in place from Monday evening through late that night—warns of snow accumulations of about 6 inches. Drifting snow could reduce visibility to less than half a mile, the advisory said.