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Up to 8 more inches of snow could fall

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Updated: February 4, 2014 6:22AM



As the snow continued to fall early Thursday, forecasters said some northern Illinois communities could get another eight inches of lake-effect snow that could extend as far west as Joliet.

Another four to six inches of snow was expected in Chicago on Thursday.

Drivers returning to work after the New Year’s holiday were greeted with a slick and snowy morning commute Thursday, as a pair of weather systems continued dumping snow across the Chicago area.

The storm that arrived on New Year’s Eve dropped 5.1 inches of snow at O’Hare International Airport by midnight Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.

The wintry wallop came courtesy of a second weather system that moved in overnight, weather service meteorologist Matt Friedlein said, making roads icy and visibility poor during the drive to work.

A lake-effect snow warning is in effect until Thursday afternoon for Cook and Lake counties in Illinois and Lake County in Indiana.

Will County Engineer Bruce Gould, who oversees the county highway department, said Thursday morning that he had all 31 snow plows on the streets trying to keep them snow free.

“We started at 4:30 this morning and we worked until 8:30 last night,” he said.

Gould said wind and continuing lake effect snow were making it tough to get the roads to stay clear.

“We’re working at it,” he said. “We’re plowing, salting. It’s a mess. But it’s winter.”

Gould said the area has been fortunate in recent years that the snow and cold weren’t too bad.

“But we’re getting it this year,” he said.

Governors State University announced it was closing at 1 p.m. on Thursday and planned to reopen Friday.

Chicago’s full fleet of 287 snow plows and salt spreaders was deployed Tuesday afternoon and, since the snowfall has been almost constant, has been continuously working to clear main and arterial roadways, said Molly Poppe, spokeswoman for the Department of Streets and Sanitation.

Many residential streets have yet to be plowed though, as the city’s trucks work to keep pace with the falling snow.

“We’re focusing on main streets right now,” Poppe said. “We’ll move to side and residential routes once our main roads are cleared... It’s obviously all contingent on when the snow stops.”

The city’s 26 smaller four-wheel drive plows will be dispatched once the city starts clearing side streets, she said, warning that residents should drive with caution as the roads are likely slippery in areas.

More than 635 flights were canceled Wednesday at O’Hare and another 275 were canceled by early Thursday morning, according to the city’s Department of Aviation. At Midway International Airport, observers reported 4.6 inches of snow and flights were delayed at least 25 minutes Thursday.

As of 6 a.m. Thursday, 10.1 inches of snow had fallen in north suburban Niles, and at least 9 inches had accumulated in some northwest suburbs including Richmond and Cary, meteorologists said. Nearly 8 inches had piled up in Norridge.

Elk Grove Village, Elgin and Niles all saw more than 7 inches of snow as of 4 p.m. Wednesday.

But once the snow finally stops falling by Friday morning, NWS meteorologist Charles Mott said there will be more bad news.

“Then we’re going to get cold,” Mott said.

The most optimistic forecast predicts Monday’s high temperature will be 0 degrees.

Contributing: Cindy Wojdyla Cain



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