Storm will bring less than 1 inch of snow
Updated: March 5, 2013 1:00PM
HINSDALE — The winter storm warning is still in effect, but most suburbs will get less than an inch of snow, according to the National Weather Service.
Temperatures stayed just above freezing in the Chicago area, so the snow didn’t accumulate, said Gino Izzi, a meteorologist with the weather service in Romeoville.
“We don’t think there will be any significant accumulation,” Izzi said. The winter storm warning expired at 3 a.m. Friday.
Before it even arrived, the storm caused hundreds of flight cancellations and a warning of near-blizzard conditions during the rush hour drive. Ultimately, though, flakes didn’t start falling until later in the evening.
Despite lack of accumulation, wind gusts of over 40 miles per hour resulted in downed power lines and outages throughout Illinois.
More than 30,000 people were without power in northern Illinois as of 8 p.m., according to Arlana Johnson, a spokeswoman for ComEd.
The western suburbs were the hardest hit, with more than 27,000 people without power, Johnson said.
“Winds are dramatically intensifying with the cold air surging,” said Ed Fenelon, a meteorologist with the weather service in Romeoville.
Wind gusts up to 50 miles per hour could cause blowing and drifting snow throughout the night.
“Anything that’s not secured and is loose could go. There could even be some minor structural damage,” Fenelon said.
The Illinois Tollway said it mobilized its full fleet of 182 snowplows in preparation for the storm. It also canceled all temporary lane closures through Dec. 26 to help with snow removal.
In the air, low visibility caused airlines to cancel more than 350 flights at O’Hare Airport, according to the city’s Department of Aviation. Delays have been averaging between 30 and 40 minutes for both inbound and outbound flights as of 8:30 p.m.
At Midway Airport, airlines canceled more than 150 flights and Southwest Airlines has canceled all of its Midway flights after 4:30 p.m. The airport was reporting delays of up to 50 minutes Thursday night, according to the Department of Aviation.
Passengers planning to travel on Friday, and those picking up passengers, should check their airline’s website for flight status.
Temperatures are expected to remain in the 20s Friday and will drop into the mid-teens Friday night.
“We have not had any cold weather to speak of this fall or early winter,” Fenelon said. Friday will be the first day in Chicago that we are not going to reach freezing as a high temperature.