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Rush hour snowy but smooth, now here comes the cold

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013 11:18 a.m. CDT

(MCT) — A generally smooth rush hour was reported this morning as the second winter storm to hit in four days dropped up to 3 inches of snow across the Chicago area. Next up: Brutal cold.

State police reported clear expressways with few accidents this morning, and both CTA and Metra posted no major delays. Disruptions were minimal at the city's two airports, with 50 cancellations and 76 delays at O'Hare International Airport and 9 cancellations and 30 delays at Midway, according to FlightsStats, a reporting service that draws from airline and airport data.

The forecast was for up to 3 inches of snow, with the brunt hitting between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m. The most accumulation was being reported in the west and south suburbs, according to the Chicago Weather Center.

The city of Chicago sent 250 large plows into the streets in advance of the storm about midnight, according to Molly Poppe, with the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation. The plows used beet juice in addition to road salt, a practice common when temperatures are especially low.

State crews were also able to stay ahead of the storm and keep roads clear, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation.

The storm comes one day after the city recorded its earliest sub-zero temperature in 18 years and the first time the temperature has fallen to six degrees below zero this early in the season since 1978.

The National Weather Service has issued a wind chill advisory from 6 p.m. today until 10 a.m. Thursday. It warned that temperatures will fall into the single digits this afternoon and below zero this evening. Winds chills could be down to 10 to 20 below zero this afternoon and 15 to 30 below zero tonight.

Since Dec. 5, temperatures have been 14 to 16 degrees below average. Early Tuesday, it registered minus-6 degrees at O'Hare International Airport. That's the earlier subzero temperature in Chicago since minus-4 was recorded at O'Hare on Dec. 9, 1995. It was also the coldest temperature in the first 10 days of December since minus-8 degrees on Dec. 10, 1978.

(c)2013 the Chicago Tribune Distributed by MCT Information Services

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