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Chicago area hit with 4 to 7 inches of ‘heart attack’ snow

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Updated: March 28, 2013 6:29AM



Get the shovel and get ready to do some heavy lifting.

Four to seven inches of wet, slushy “heart attack” snow were forecast to fall on the Chicago area by Wednesday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

Hardest hit were the far north and northwest suburbs in Lake and McHenry counties, which could see six to 10 inches of snow by daybreak. Those counties were under a winter weather warning until 6 a.m.

By late Tuesday, about 10 inches of had fallen in north suburban Gurnee, the storm’s highest total so far, according to the weather service. Beach Park saw 9 1/2 inches, while Harvard, Palatine, Mundelein and Lake Bluff all recorded more than 6 inches of snow as of about 8 p.m.

In the western suburbs, areas near Roselle saw just under 6 inches while Wheaton had roughly 5 inches of snow Tuesday evening. Southwest suburban Romeoville, home to the weather service’s local office, saw just under 4 inches of snow as of 10 p.m.

Airlines canceled more than 510 flights at O’Hare and 170 flights at Midway as of late Tuesday night, according to the Department of Aviation. Delays were averaging 60 to 90 minutes at O’Hare, and at least 30 minutes at Midway as of Tuesday evening.

The storm also prompted the cancellation of six state basketball tournament regional games being hosted by Chicago Public Schools, while many other school systems closed early or canceled after-school activities and evening classes.

And while most of the snow was expected to fall by Wednesday morning, an additional one to three inches could come down throughout the day, according to the weather service.

If the snow does taper off, Chicago’s arterial streets should be mostly clear by the Wednesday morning rush and plows will begin tackling side streets in the morning. “We’ll work on the main roads until the snow subsides, then turn to the residential streets,” said Streets and Sanitation spokeswoman Anne Sheahan.

The department’s Snow Command full fleet of 284 snowplows hit the streets, while the Illinois Tollway mobilized all of its 182 snowplows and canceled all temporary lane closures through 7 a.m. Thursday morning.

The Weather Service urged people to take it easy when shoveling the wet, heavy stuff it described as “heart attack” snow: “Due to the weight of the snow, caution should be exercised to not overexert oneself during shoveling,” the advisory stated.

Contributing: LeeAnn Shelton



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