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Winter storm dumps a foot of snow in some areas as O’Hare records largest snowfall in 5 years

By Monday morning, 11.4 inches of snow had fallen at Midway Airport and 10.8 inches at O’Hare Airport.

A resident shovels snow off steps Sunday in Pilsen after an overnight storm blanketed the city.
Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Chicago’s second major winter storm in a week dumped nearly a foot of snow in some parts of the city by Monday morning.

The heavy, wet snow entered the area Saturday afternoon and intensified through the night, with about 1 to 2 inches of snowfall per hour into Sunday.

By Monday morning, 11.4 inches of snow had fallen at Midway Airport and 10.8 inches at O’Hare Airport, according to the National Weather Service.

That’s the largest snowfall recorded at O’Hare since November 2015.

Meanwhile, Millennium Park in downtown had 8.6 inches of snow, according to the weather service.

Including last week’s snowstorm, O’Hare recorded 16.8 inches of snow. It was the first time the city’s had two 6-inch-plus snow events within a week since January 2014, the weather service said.

Some areas outside of Chicago recorded over a foot of snow Sunday. The National Weather Service office in Romeoville measured 12.9 inches, which is believed to be the highest reported snowfall from this storm, weather service forecaster Casey Sullivan said.

Snow tapered off early Monday as the storm moves east out of the city. The forecasted high temperatures for Monday is in the lower 30s, and temperatures are expected drop to blow 20 that evening heading into Tuesday.

A person rides a bike down a hill at Grant Park in the Loop Saturday afternoon.
A person rides a bike down a hill at Grant Park in the Loop on Saturday afternoon.
Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

The snowstorm caused headaches for some travelers as airlines canceled hundreds of flights at city airports. O’Hare reported 229 flights cancellations Sunday evening, and Midway had 72 cancellations, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation.

Strong wind led forecasters to issue a lakeshore flood advisory that expired early Monday. Forecasters warned of waves up to 11 feet tall.

City officials said 287 snowplows were deployed across Chicago ahead of the first flakes. A fleet of more than 300 trucks have been on the roads since Sunday morning.

The city prioritized the plowing of main streets as the snow fell before moving to residential streets. Residential streets were expected to be cleared by Monday morning, Deputy Commissioner of Streets and Sanitation Cole Stallard said Sunday.

“The mayor has given us resources to ensure us that we will be ready for that commute on Monday morning, I can promise you that,” Stallard said.

Residents clean their cars and shovel snow Sunday in Pilsen after a weekend snowstorm.
Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Stallard asked residents snow blowing or shoveling their sidewalks to keep the snow in the parkway and off the streets.

Sullivan said it might be a good idea for residents to remove snow from sidewalks and vehicles parked outside Sunday evening as temperatures are projected to stay below freezing overnight. He warned that “whatever hasn’t been plowed or scraped could potentially turn to ice.”

The weekend storm system follows one that hit the area Tuesday and dropped 5.8 inches of snow at O’Hare Airport, the largest snowfall in Chicago since April 2019.

This storm easily surpassed that total, marking a departure from the mild winters the area has seen over the last few years, according to National Weather Service forecaster Brian Leatherwood.

“This is one of the bigger ones,” Leatherwood said.

Chicago should remain dry through Wednesday, though there’s a chance of rain changing to snow Thursday, forecasters said.