Storm update: Snowfall is Chicago area's biggest in a couple years

  • Mike Inman of Elgin blows snow on the street in front of his Elgin home Tuesday, after several inches of snow fell overnight. Inman said it was about what he expected. "No biggie," he said.

      Mike Inman of Elgin blows snow on the street in front of his Elgin home Tuesday, after several inches of snow fell overnight. Inman said it was about what he expected. "No biggie," he said. Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Mike Siri removes snow Tuesday morning from The Relationship Center's sidewalk on Main Street in downtown Wauconda.

      Mike Siri removes snow Tuesday morning from The Relationship Center's sidewalk on Main Street in downtown Wauconda. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Vito Manola of Palatine spent time digging out the fire hydrant across the street from his house Tuesday morning. "We needed a good snow," he said as he scraped and brushed snow off the hydrant. "It's awesome today."

      Vito Manola of Palatine spent time digging out the fire hydrant across the street from his house Tuesday morning. "We needed a good snow," he said as he scraped and brushed snow off the hydrant. "It's awesome today." Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Mary Lou Manola of Palatine walks Tasha in the early morning snow Tuesday, "It's beautiful as long as I don't have to drive in it." Manola said.

      Mary Lou Manola of Palatine walks Tasha in the early morning snow Tuesday, "It's beautiful as long as I don't have to drive in it." Manola said. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • An Elgin snowplow makes its way along Larkin Avenue Tuesday morning after several inches of snow fell overnight.

      An Elgin snowplow makes its way along Larkin Avenue Tuesday morning after several inches of snow fell overnight. Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Michael Noga of Elgin shovels his driveway Tuesday morning after several inches of snow fell overnight in Elgin.

      Michael Noga of Elgin shovels his driveway Tuesday morning after several inches of snow fell overnight in Elgin. Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Hockey players gather in Community Park in Palatine as snow starts Monday night.

      Hockey players gather in Community Park in Palatine as snow starts Monday night. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • This snowman, standing at Old Rand Road and Forest Avenue in Lake Zurich, seems to be very happy with Tuesday's winter storm.

      This snowman, standing at Old Rand Road and Forest Avenue in Lake Zurich, seems to be very happy with Tuesday's winter storm. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 1/27/2021 9:05 AM

The snowfall that began Monday night and continued through Tuesday was the biggest to hit the Chicago area in nearly two years, meteorologists confirmed.

An estimated 5.8 inches of snow had fallen at O'Hare International Airport -- the official measuring site for the region -- as of noon Tuesday, the National Weather Service reported. That's the largest amount recorded there since 5.4 inches of snow fell on April 14, 2019.

 

The worst of the storm passed through the area by noon, although more snow was expected to fall in communities closer to Lake Michigan during the afternoon.

Janice Gangaloo of Palatine walks in the snow to Sundling Junior High School to pack and deliver lunches Tuesday morning. "I didn't think this would be a snow day when I woke up this morning, but now it's starting to look bad," Gangaloo said.
  Janice Gangaloo of Palatine walks in the snow to Sundling Junior High School to pack and deliver lunches Tuesday morning. "I didn't think this would be a snow day when I woke up this morning, but now it's starting to look bad," Gangaloo said. - Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

Most suburbs received between 2 inches and 4 inches of snow overnight, leaving snow on roads for the morning commute. Snowfall lightened as the morning wore on.

As often is the case, snowfall measurements varied from town to town. According to the weather service:

• 6.7 inches of snow were reported in Palatine by late morning.

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• 6.8 inches were reported in Schaumburg.

• 6.1 inches of snow were reported about noon in Libertyville.

• 5.9 inches were reported in Glenview.

Wauconda resident Megan Diaz kept her regular walk Tuesday morning despite the high winds and snow. Diaz walks along Main Street in downtown Wauconda with her dogs, Mila, left, and Marley.
  Wauconda resident Megan Diaz kept her regular walk Tuesday morning despite the high winds and snow. Diaz walks along Main Street in downtown Wauconda with her dogs, Mila, left, and Marley. - Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

The storm's impact on Chicago's two biggest airports wasn't terrible.

As of Tuesday afternoon, 40 flights into or out of O'Hare and 31 into or out of Chicago Midway International Airport had been canceled, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation website. Average delays were about 18 minutes at O'Hare and less than 15 minutes at Midway.

This was the first significant snowfall that coincided with a rush hour commute during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With fewer people driving to and from work or school because of the pandemic, some plow drivers were able to get through their routes Tuesday a bit easier than usual.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

That was the case in Lake County, where 26 trucks have been plowing since Monday afternoon, clearing more than 850 miles of roadway, said Kevin Kerrigan, the engineer of maintenance for the county's transportation division.

A Wauconda public works snowplow makes its way north on Main Street in downtown Wauconda Tuesday morning.
  A Wauconda public works snowplow makes its way north on Main Street in downtown Wauconda Tuesday morning. - Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

"The plow operators are able to get through their routes more efficiently with fewer vehicles on the road," Kerrigan said.

More snow is possible this weekend, the weather service tweeted, with some meteorologists predicting snow on Saturday night and Sunday.

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