Over 800 flights cancelled as winter storm brings heavy winds, rain to Chicago area

Chicago News USA

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CHICAGO — Over 1,000 flights were cancelled Saturday morning as a winter storm hit the area bringing heavy winds and rain.

A Winter Storm Warning is in effect until 3 p.m. Sunday for McHenry and DeKalb counties. Freezing rain hit the Chicago area overnight Saturday into the morning. The wintry mix is expected to transition to snow late Saturday afternoon and evening. Forecasters are predicting as much as seven inches of snow with the most of it falling north of the city.

Warnings and Advisories, Lakeshore Flooding, and flood-producing downpours continue across the Chicago area this Saturday morning. Slick and hazardous travel conditions should persist during the day and then intensify late this afternoon and evening as accumulating snow spreads west-east across the area.

Freezing rain has diminished in northwest portions overnight and early this Saturday morning with heavy rains concentrated along and east of Interstate-55 where rainfall totals in the 1 to 3-inch range have occurred enhancing flooding potential. Strong north to northeast winds gusting 45 to 50 mph will continue to build 15 to 20-foot waves along the Illinois and Indiana Lake Michigan shoreline causing considerable erosion and flooding at the lakefront — stay away from these areas, if at all possible.

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During the day, heavier rains look to be concentrating along and east of Interstate-55.  With temperatures hovering in the upper 20s to lower 30s, light freezing rain/drizzle/sleet with wet snow occasionally mixed in will continue to the west/northwest of Interstate-55. Travel/outdoor conditions will be slick and hazardous, especially on untreated roadways, sidewalks, driveways and parking lots.

Later this afternoon into the evening hours, as the low pressure system moves off to the east out of Indiana into Ohio a blanket of snow will lay out across much of the Chicago area, travel conditions will deteriorate – the strong northerly winds wrapping around the back-side of the departing low pressure will pull colder air into our area and a band of moderate snow will swing across northern Illinois into northwest Indiana with expected snowfall totals as shown on the chart below prepared by the Chicago National Weather Service Forecast office. Snowfall totals will likely range from 6-inches along the Illinois-Wisconsin state line, gradually tapering to 1 to 2-inches in northwest Indiana and in Illinois south of Chicago and Interstate-80.

Latest Regional Weather Radar Mosaic…

O’Hare International Chicago Airport cancelled over 950 flights and about 60 more were cancelled at Midway International Airport. For the latest on flights, visit flychicago.com.

Most airlines are waiving change fees for people, as long as the bought their tickets before Thursday and are traveling over the weekend. Check with your airline on the rules to avoid change fees.

A Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for northern Illinois and the Chicago area starting early Saturday morning.

A Lakeshore Flood Warning has been issued Saturday at 12 a.m. until Sunday at 6 a.m. for green counties (see map below.) NNE winds gusting 40-50 mph build waves 12-18′ occasionally up to 23′. Lakeshore flooding could cause significant beach/shoreline erosion. Structures along shore may be damaged.

The Chicago Park District has closed part of the lakefront trail to walkers, bikers and runners due to high waves and slippery conditions. The trail is closed from just south of Fullerton to Ohio ahead of the approaching winter weather.

A Flood Watch in also in effect until 6 p.m. Saturday for green counties (see map in tweet below.)

There’s also concerns this could cause significant flooding along the lake as well as erosion.

Some areas like Rogers Park have experienced beach erosion, and efforts are underway there to try and protect the land along the lake.

The Chicago Department of Emergency Management said the city is prepared for this winter weather.

Water department crews have been out clearing out catch basins to try and prevent flooding and will continue those efforts through the weekend.

IDOT reports they have plans in place for when the rain and snow start with 1,800 trucks and other equipment statewide on standby to treat roads or respond to flooding situations.

For the latest weather updates go to wgntv.com/weather

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