weatherpic.jpg

Commuters make their way to work downtown Tuesday morning. | Stefano Esposito/Sun-Times

Wintry mix creates slick morning commute

SHARE Wintry mix creates slick morning commute
SHARE Wintry mix creates slick morning commute

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.

weather_WIR_030315.jpg

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.”

weather_CST_030415_4_1024x737.jpg

Steve LaPorte in front of a line of commuters walking to the Blue Line in Logan Square on Tuesday. | Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

weather_CST_030415_2_1024x768.jpg

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

The Latest
Ald. David Moore (17th), who has limited campaign coffers, tried to paint himself as the candidate without any ethical problems — as former state treasurer Alexi Giannoulias and Chicago city clerk Anna Valencia traded barbs in the heated Democratic race to succeed Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White.
A person close to the band said Fletcher died Thursday from natural causes at his home in the United Kingdom.
The Mattie Butler Apartments were named in honor of the Woodlawn East Community and Neighbors founder, who championed affordable housing for decades.
The girl was traveling in a vehicle just before 5 p.m. in the 4600 block of North Francisco Avenue when someone opened fire.
“I’ve played against so many great players over the years,” Gardner said. “All of the experiences leading up to this have helped me prepare for this moment.”