The 2011 Blizzard continues to unleash its fury across Chicago and other cities across the Great Lakes, but an end to the fierce and historical snowstorm is finally in sight.
The blizzard now ranks fifth among the greatest snowstorms in Chicago’s history, exactly what AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski predicted on Tuesday.
A total of 17.1 inches of snow has buried Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (the city’s official weather observation site) through 6 a.m. EST.
The 13.6 inches that fell alone on Tuesday made that day the snowiest February day on record. The previous record was held by Feb. 18, 1908, and its 11.5 inches.
Additional snow today will likely push the total past the 20-inch mark, making the blizzard the city’s top-four or higher snowstorm. The storm from late January 1967 sits atop that list with 23.0 inches.
Chicago will continue to receive steady snow through the late morning hours, followed by lighter snow showers this afternoon.
Despite a reduction in the snow’s intensity, howling winds will continue to blow and drift the snow around significantly.
The same weather is also expected from Milwaukee, Wis., to Alpena, Mich.
The wind-whipped snow will further clog and make roads throughout the Great Lakes impassible today. Crews will also have difficulty keeping runways clear at the region’s airports, leading to more delays and cancellations.
The travel nightmare for airline passengers will expand away from the Great Lakes. With significant problems anticipated at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, the ripple effect will adversely impact other flights across the United States.
While the weather remains poor around the Great Lakes, conditions were worse Tuesday afternoon and night.
During that time, Chicago endured more than 12 straight hours of winds gusting near or past 40 mph. The winds severely whipped the snow around, holding visibility to a quarter of a mile or less for most of those 12 hours.
In the Chicago suburb of Elk Grove Village, the winds whipped the snow into seven-foot drifts between homes.
Thunder and lightning were even sighted, while power outages ensued. WBBM reports that 50,000 people lost power Tuesday night within the city limits of Chicago.