Rain on Monday afternoon turned into the season's first accumulating snowfall just before rush hour, leading to icy roads in parts of Lake, McHenry and Cook counties.
Much of the snowfall -- ranging from .8 inches in Oak Brook to .4 inches at O'Hare International Airport and 1.9 inches near McHenry -- tapered off by 5 p.m., leaving roadways wet. Temperatures, however, dropped significantly about the same time, creating icy conditions. Numerous bridges and off ramps were shut down until they could be salted.
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"It was a mess out there," Gurnee Fire Protection District Lt. Heath Graham.
Gurnee firefighters responded to a series of crashes on Route 120 on the bridge over Route 41 that involved as many as 15 cars and required 12 people to be taken to local hospitals.
Many of the injuries were serious but nonlife-threatening, while one child had critical injuries, he said.
In Barrington, fire officials handled a crash on the bridge at routes 14 and 68 and transported one person with minor injuries to Good Shepard. While responders were handling that crash, another one occurred. Officials eventually shut down the bridge and ramps. "It was damp and right temperature," Barrington Fire Department Lt. Michael Brown said. "Bridges are the first things that are going to ice up. The temperature dropped right around rush hour so it was kind of the perfect storm."
Monday's snow marks the earliest snowfall since Oct. 12, 2006, said Meteorologist Matt Friedlein.
Additionally, about a half an inch of snow fell near Marengo, 1.7 inches in Lakemoor and .8 inches in Gurnee.
The forecast calls for temperatures to drop to 22 degrees tonight.
The cold weather will linger through the next couple of days, with temperatures staying at 32 degrees Tuesday, with 20 mph wind gusts possible.
Temperatures will not rise above the freezing mark until Wednesday, then top out at 46 degrees Friday.