Lake, McHenry counties get brunt of Tuesday storm

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The worst of a winter snowstorm that brought more than 10 inches of snow to portions of McHenry County has left the area, but forecasters predict an additional inch or more throughout the day.  

A winter weather advisory has been lifted in the Chicago area, according to the National Weather Service.   Snow blanketed the county Tuesday, causing visibility levels near zero during the evening commute.

County crews worked overnight and continue to clear the roadways Wednesday morning.

“County roads are in pretty good shape,” said Ed Markison, assistant maintenance supervisor for the McHenry County Division of Transportation. “A lot of the roads are wet pavement except up north where they got more snow.”

Several accidents were reported throughout the county Tuesday with no major injuries. Some municipalties reverted to their emergency snow plans, and schools and other organizations canceled classes and evening programs.

High winds and fast-falling snow at more than an inch per hour made for temporary whiteout conditions, creating hazardous conditions during rush hour.

Lake and McHenry counties took the brunt of the storm, with more than 10 inches of snowfall being recorded in Richmond and Fox Lake, and 11 inches in Waukegan, according to the weather service. Approximately 6.5 inches of snow fell in Woodstock.

“You can definitely tell the difference in the northern parts of [McHenry County],” Markison said. “The only real issues today are on the east-west roads because the wind is out of the north, but it isn’t really blowing.”

County crews created a three-day plan for the weather event, which included splitting crews to cover the morning and evening commutes Tuesday, today and Thursday.

Light snow flurries are expected this morning into the early afternoon.

There is a chance for moderate to heavy snowfall later today.

Across the Chicago region, snowfall totals ranged anywhere from 2 inches to more than 12 inches.

At O’Hare International Airport, approximately 4.8 inches of snow fell yesterday, breaking a more than 75-year-old record for total snowfall on that calendar day, according to the weather service. The snow caused hundreds of delays and canceled flights.

The snowfall total this winter is now 18.4 inches, slightly behind last year’s total of 19.5 inches through the same time period.

The majority of snow has fallen in February — approximately 14.9 inches. That's well ahead of the 2012 February total, when approximately 5.6 inches of snow hit the ground.

Today’s forecast includes a high of 34 degrees with winds out of the north at 10 to 20 mph.

— Lawerence Synett

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A heavy snowstorm that blanketed the county and caused visibility levels near zero during the Tuesday evening commute was expected to weaken overnight, leaving light snow showers in its wake.

The region was expected to wake up to between 6 and 10 inches of snow this morning, with an additional 1 to 2 inches expected to fall today, according to the National Weather Service.

“We’re hoping to have a good morning commute tomorrow, but with more snows coming in, certainly roads could become snow-covered again,” said Mark DeVries, maintenance supervisor for the McHenry County Division of Transportation.

Several accidents were reported throughout the county Tuesday, according to the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office. High winds and fast-falling snow made for temporary white-out conditions during the evening.

County crews created a three-day plan for the weather event, which included splitting crews to cover the morning and evening commutes Tuesday, today and Thursday.

“We were at full strength for our evening commute, when we knew the heaviest snow was going to come in,” DeVries said. “We overlapped.”

The National Weather Service expected periods of light to moderate snow overnight and planned to lift a winter storm warning at 6 a.m. today

A mix of rain and wet snow early Tuesday shifted to all snow around noon, causing several local schools, churches and other organizations to cancel afternoon and evening activities.

McHenry County school districts hadn’t made a determination on today’s classes as of late Tuesday night.

Residents were urged to not overexert themselves when shoveling the heavy, wet snow, which can strain the body enough to cause a heart attack.

The current storm comes less than a week after 3 to 4 inches of snow fell throughout much of the Chicago region. The heaviest snow totals in McHenry County came from Woodstock, where 5 inches of snow was recorded Thursday into Friday morning.

Temperatures will hover in the mid 30s today, with winds out of the northeast at 15 to 20 mph.

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