Updated: March 11, 2014 6:49PM
A winter weather advisory was extended until 2 p.m. Wednesday for counties along the Lake Michigan shoreline after an overnight storm dumped more than seven inches in some areas.
The National Weather Service extended the advisory for Cook and Lake counties in Illinois and Lake and Porter counties in Indiana.
The snowstorm moved into the Chicago area overnight and snarled the morning commute and tapered off by noon in most of the area. Oak Park recorded 7.4 inches of snow, and Aurora recorded 6 inches. At O’Hare International Airport, 7 inches fell, and 6.9 inches fell at Midway International Airport, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Richard Castro.
Metra warned that trains -which were up to an hour late on the Milwaukee District/North Line and the Union Pacific/Northwest Line in the morning — could still be delayed for the evening commute.
A statement from Illinois State Police advised motorists to take caution on the roads, reduce speeds and allow for extra travel time as high winds and whiteout conditions were possible in some areas.
“All of Cook County is snow-covered,” said Illinois State Police District Chicago Sgt. Rodney Collins.
Since 10 p.m. Tuesday, expressways in the Chicago area saw at least 19 minor crashes and 12 vehicles in need of a tow, Collins said. Only three injuries were reported in the crashes, none of which were fatal or life threatening.
“The roads are treacherous,” he said. “But IDOT is out in full force with the salt trucks trying to fight it.”
The Illinois Department of Transportation readied 1,755 snowplows and 3,700 employees to remove snow and ice, and the Illinois Tollway plans to deploy its full fleet of 182 snowplows and more than 200 workers to keep roads clear, according to a statement from Gov. Pat Quinn’s office.
The city’s Department of Streets and Sanitation also deployed its entire fleet of 287 snow plows and salt spreaders to main streets and Lake Shore Drive early Wednesday, according to department spokeswoman Mary Poppe. The fleet will focus on arterial streets at first and will be deployed to side and residential streets once the snow has stopped and main streets are clear.
By late morning airlines at O’Hare had canceled 370 flights due to winter weather conditions and were experiencing delays of at least 30 minutes, the city’s Department of Aviation said. Midway was experiencing minor delays due to icing issues, and 45 flights had been canceled at that airport.
Wednesday’s highs will remain stuck in the lower 20s, the weather service said. Wednesday night brings another blast of colder weather, when lows ranging from the single digits to 10 below zero could feel more like minus 10 to minus 20 degrees with the wind chill.
The latest round of snow and cold follows a brutal January that ranked as Chicago’s 3rd snowiest and 10th coldest on record, the weather service said. Residents suffered through 33.7 inches of snow and a frigid average temperature of 15.7 degrees -- more than 8 degrees below normal.