First major winter storm of 2014
At least 100 million Americans were under some level of winter storm warning, watch, or advisory on Thursday
The winter storm is the biggest to hit Chicago on New Year’s Day since 1999. As of midnight Wednesday night, 5.1 inches had fallen at O’Hare International Airport. The northern suburbs were hit hardest, with 18 inches reported in Gurnee, 13.8 inches in Riverwoods, 13.7 inches in Mundelein, and 12.9 inches in Beach Park.
Snow that started Tuesday continues to pile up Wednesday evening, grounding more than 600 flights at Chicago airports and leaving residents in some suburbs with as many as 11 inches of snow.
After the current snowstorm tapers off Wednesday evening, a separate lake effect snow system moved into town Thursday.
Portions of those counties farther from the lake could only see another inch or two of snow, forecasters say. However, areas near Lake Michigan could see snow pile up at two inches every hour, creating near-zero visibility and “very hazardous” driving conditions.
Those three counties are under a lake effect snow warning until 3 p.m. Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. A winter weather advisory remains in effect until midnight for all other Chicago-area counties
The weather service warns that roads could be treacherous Wednesday and Thursday between the snowfall and cold temperatures.
“The best recommendation is to enjoy the snow from inside. Unless absolutely neceessary, it’s best to avoid traveling,” meteorologist Richard Castro said.
Already Thursday, airlines canceled 1,948 flights and delayed 4,204 flights, according to FlightStats.com, which tracks flights.
Airports suffering the worst by 2 p.m. are Chicago O’Hare, which had 592 cancellations; Newark, which had 347 cancellations; and Boston, which had 245 cancellations, according to FlightStats. Flights at O’Hare are running about 30 minutes late.
Though no flights had been cancelled at Midway Airport as of 3:30 p.m., flights were delayed about 50 minutes.
The high temperature Thursday is projected to be between 17 and 21 degrees, but the lows will hover around zero in the city and minus 5 degrees to minus 9 degrees in the suburbs. Wind-chill values could sink to minus 10 to 20 degrees.
Northeast could be buried under as much as a foot and a half of snow Friday.
A day after meteorologists predicted that a storm system was unlikely to bring snow to New York City this week, the forecast was revised to warn that the city could expect 5 to 8 inches of snow through Thursday and Friday.
„It’s going to be a pretty significant storm, which will cause major travel disruption for a lot of people early in the new year,“ said Dave Houtz, senior meteorologist for The Weather Channel. „Any untreated roads will be a real mess.“
Forecasters expect heavy snow in the Midwest and the Northeast, and airlines are already bracing for canceled flights.
For more info go to
Winter Storm Hercules State-By-State Impacts: 2014’s First Big Storm Bears Down on Northeast