Storm dumps almost 18 inches of snow at Chicago's Midway Airport, less than half that at O'Hare, forecasters say

Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Weather News

CHICAGO – Nearly 18 inches of snow fell at Midway Airport by 6 a.m. Tuesday, although some areas away from the lake, including O’Hare International Airport, saw far less, according to preliminary snowfall reports released early Tuesday by the National Weather Service.

By 6 a.m.. Midway Airport had seen 17.7 inches of snow since Sunday night, with 7.5 inches at O’Hare International Airport and 7.8 inches at the weather service’s Romeoville office. The South Loop had 16.9 inches, while Albany Park recorded 16 inches of snow, according to the weather service.

Indiana was hardest hit by the storm, which meteorologists initially expected to drop 14 inches on the Chicago area at most. But Valparaiso, Ind. not only had 16 inches of snowfall but that amount accumulated by 10:40 p.m. Monday.

Students who had opted in for in-person learning at Chicago Public Schools reverted to online learning Tuesday, the district announced just before 6 p.m. Monday. Dozens of other area school districts made a similar decision, while others canceled school entirely, according to entries on the Emergency Closing Center website.

Lake effect snow largely was to blame for conditions across the border, since the phenomena was in effect throughout most of the day, forecasters said. And while the system largely responsible for Illinois’ massive snowfall will have cleared the Chicago area by mid-morning, Indiana is poised for another battering of lake effect snow, which could drop another 6 inches of snow Tuesday on the already hard-hit Hoosier state.

The weather service said the lake effect machine did shift to the Illinois shoreline for a time, which helped Evanston get at least 12 inches and Lakeview at least 8.2 inches. Snow totals were only expected to increase once weather spotters begin submitting official measurements Tuesday morning.


The morning commute was expected to be slushy, slow, and potentially scary for some, regardless of their preferred mode of transportation.

According to the Illinois Department of Transportation’s road conditions website, roads in Cook and all of the collar counties were completely covered in snow or ice, with all major interstates and expressways in the same boat, despite the state’s work, in tandem with city and county crews, to plow and salt area roads.

The Chicago Transit Authority listed one service suspension or disruption after another. The Red, Purple, Yellow and Orange Lines were all experiencing service issues because of track switching issues as a result of the weather.

At 6:10 a.m., more than 140 flights had been canceled between the city’s two major airports and O’Hare International Airport had an additional 89 delayed flights, almost all of which were departing flights. At Midway 68 flights had been canceled to O’Hare’s 73.

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