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Ill. grapples with latest wintry blast

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014 11:46 p.m. CDT

CHICAGO – Much of Illinois grappled Tuesday with a new icy wintry blast that dropped more than half a foot of snow in the Chicago area and kept temperatures in single digits, making commuting treacherous.

The National Weather Service said the Chicago suburb of Oak Park was among the hardest hit, logging more than 8 inches of snow from the storm that pushed through overnight into Tuesday. A half foot of snow was reported near Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.

The temperatures hovered above zero, complicating efforts to keep the roads from icing.

“The temps are so cold it’s hard to treat the roads. That’s further exacerbating the problem,” said Lyle Barker, a meteorologist in the weather service’s Lincoln office.

Chicagoans shouldn’t expect a respite, with a 50-percent chance of more snow forecast for Wednesday and temperatures peaking in the teens, meteorologist Amy Seeley said. The deep freeze in Illinois’ midsection was expected to linger, with wind chills of minus 15 to minus 25 degrees for Thursday and Friday.

Lesser amounts of snowfall – 1 to 4 inches – fell in central Illinois, with much of that accumulation drifting across roadways before being compacted by vehicles, making driving conditions slick.

Southern Illinois generally missed out on the latest storm, getting an inch or less of snowfall as temperatures Tuesday remained in the teens, said meteorologist Christine Wielgos of the weather service’s office in Paducah, Ky.

A warm-up in that region Wednesday will be short-lived with thermometer readings returning to the low teens again by Thursday, Wielgos said.

The snowy conditions prompted many school districts throughout Illinois to call off Tuesday’s classes.

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