Bitter cold in Chicago area, snow pummeled NW Ind. - Dallas News |

Bitter cold in Chicago area, snow pummeled NW Ind.

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(FOX 32 News viewer Tracy Adams) (FOX 32 News viewer Tracy Adams)
(FOX 32 News viewer Tracy Adams) (FOX 32 News viewer Tracy Adams)
CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

The band of lake-effect snow that passed through the Chicago area overnight moved into Northwest Indiana Tuesday morning, and now frigid, minus 25-degree wind chills are expected to move into the Midwest — but don't call it another polar vortex.

As of 7 a.m. Tuesday, snow was no longer falling in Chicago and Midway International Airport saw the region's heaviest snowfall at 7.2 inches, according to National Weather Service Meteorologist Andrew Krein. Snowfall at O'Hare International Airport was measured at 5.9 inches, while 6.9 inches of snow were reported in downtown Chicago.

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More than 370 snow plows were clearing the city's roads as of 7:15 a.m. Tuesday, as well as 60 quick hitch snow plows and 26 four-wheel drive snow plows, according to Molly Poppe, spokesperson for the Department of Streets and Sanitation. Once the main routes are clear and the snow has stopped, the plows will be deployed to side and residential streets.

More than 150 flights have been canceled at O'Hare International Airport due to weather conditions as of 7:45 a.m. Tuesday. Meanwhile, about 30 flights have been canceled at Midway Airport.

Metra posted a service advisory to its website Monday night warning riders of anticipated delays due to the severe weather and urging them to allow extra travel time in the morning.

"Unfortunately, weather conditions beyond our control will create unanticipated delays or service disruptions," Metra wrote in the alert. "Depending on the severity of conditions in specific areas, your train may experience delays."

Expressways in the Chicago area saw about 10 minor accidents during the morning commute, and roads were clear of crashes as of about 7 a.m., according to Illinois State Police District Chicago Sgt. George Jiminez.

Temperatures on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday will be near zero and wind chills as cold as minus 20 to 25 degrees are forecast, meteorologists said.

This particular blast of cold air is not the polar vortex itself, but rather a byproduct of the system that regularly moves through Canada and into the United States, meteorologists said.

By Friday, highs in the area are expected to climb to 24 degrees, falling to 15 at night, forecasts show.

Lake County, Ind., remains under a lake-effect snow warning from midnight until noon Tuesday.

Parts of Will County east of Interstate 57 could see 3 to 6 inches of snow, and a less serious lake-effect snow advisory is in effect for those areas from 11 p.m. to 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Traveling in areas affected by the lake-effect snowfall could be dangerous, as visibilities can drop to zero within minutes, forecasters say.

As if the snow isn't bad enough, temperatures started to fall Monday as a cold front moved into the Chicago area. Overnight lows will range from zero to minus 4, and wind chill values could reach minus 22, meteorologists said.

A wind-chill advisory will take effect at 3 a.m. for Kane, McHenry and Lake counties, and last until 10 a.m., the weather service said.

Because of the frigid forecast, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart activated the jail's 24-hour weather hotline. Relatives of inmates can call (773) 674-6618 for information on posting bond and arranging a discharge, his office said in a news release. Detainees who are homeless or do not have transportation may postpone their discharge.

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