A mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain made Tuesday morning’s commute hazardous, forced flight cancellations at both Chicago airports and made travel even more miserable for CTA riders who found themselves stuck on stalled trains.
A winter weather advisory will be in effect until noon Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.
The snow began early Tuesday, then turned to freezing rain by the time of the commute. The precipitation is causing icy conditions and visibility of less than half a mile, according to the weather service.
As of 7:30 a.m., more than 340 flights had been canceled due to winter weather at O’Hare International Airport, according to the city’s Department of Aviation. At Midway, more than 60 flights had been canceled.
However, no delays were reported at either airport Tuesday morning.
A traffic cam photo taken about 6 a.m. Tuesday on the Dan Ryan I-55 interchange. | IDOT
The city’s department of Streets and Sanitation deployed its full fleet of more than 280 snow plows and salt spreaders, in addition to 26 smaller four-by-four snow plows, to main streets and Lake Shore Drive Tuesday morning, according to a statement from spokeswoman Molly Poppe.
The CTA said mechanical issues were causing some major delays on the Green and Pink lines and had suspended Yellow Line service as of 9:20 a.m.
Operations and maintenance workers were dispatched throughout the CTA system during the night and into the morning to minimize the impact of the weather, the CTA said in a statement.
TRAVEL UPDATE: Major delays on Green, Pink lines, CTA says
The CTA will deploy snowplow trains as needed to keep tracks clear of ice and snow, and all railcars have “sleet scrapers” to keep the third rail clear of snow, sleet and ice. Switch heaters will also be activated and additional signal staffing support will be made available at key terminals, junctions and interlockings, the CTA said.
The high Tuesday is expected to reach 36-40 degrees, according to the weather service. But Tuesday evening a cold front will sweep through, bringing colder temperatures back.
Wednesday will be partly sunny with a high between 18-23 degrees, according to the weather service.
The wintry mix of precipitation began overnight as snow, especially north of I-80, according to the weather service. Between one and two inches of snow could fall near the Wisconsin border, with about an inch expected in the Chicago area.
It all made for treacherous roads and sidewalks throughout the Chicago area.
“It sucks,” said Steve LaPorte as he walked to a CTA Blue Line stop in Logan Square Tuesday morning.
“It’s kind of hard to get out of bed on days like today, I’m not going to lie,” added LaPorte, 25, an information technology specialist. “But it’s especially bad when it’s so cold out and the snow is everywhere. It just makes me not want to do anything.”
Steve LaPorte in front of a line of commuters walking to the Blue Line in Logan Square on Tuesday. | Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times
A Green Line train arrives at the Ridgeland Avenue station in Oak Park. The CTA reported delays on the Green and Pink lines Tuesday morning. | Sun-Times
Updated map. Dangerous travel conditions due to ice. If you have to drive, please take it slow! #ilwx pic.twitter.com/bMRmtPNDNP— IDOT_Illinois (@IDOT_Illinois) March 3, 2015
I-90 in Elgin - almost 2" snow. Roads covered and slick! pic.twitter.com/K9CVCrOGPM— Roz Varon (@rozvaronABC7) March 3, 2015