Chicago hit with most snowfall this winter so far - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

PHOTOS: Chicago hit with most snowfall this winter so far

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Winter Weather Advisories went into effect Sunday night through Monday morning for much of the Chicago area. The National Weather Service predicts 3 to 6 inches of snow by noon.

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A potent Alberta Clipper storm system arrived late Sunday evening from the northern plains, bringing the area's biggest winter snowfall of 2013.

As of 7:15 a.m., the weather agency said 2.6 inches of snow was recorded at O'Hare International Airport, the official measuring point for Chicago. The snowfall is expected to end about noon, the weather service said.

As many as 25 crashes were reported by 7 a.m. Monday. The snow caused slick conditions on roads during the morning rush hour. Officials warned commuters to leave early and drive slowly as the plows and salt trucks hit the streets and the snow continued to fall.

SEE: More than 25 accidents reported on Chicago-area expressways

Officials also recommended using public transportation, although those lines will also experience delays to compensate for weather conditions. Check flights before heading out to the airport, which will see delays and cancellations Monday morning.

In Chicago, the city's full fleet of 284 snow plows were salting and clearing streets Monday, as residents woke to the snow falling.

But even with the snow accumulation, the area's precipitation is still well below the yearly average, said Amy Seeley of the NWS, adding that the effects of last summer's drought are still being felt throughout the area.

"This seems like a big deal, but we're still well below our snow normals," she said. "This isn't going to do much."

Three to six inches of snow are expected north of I-88. Higher amounts are possible for northern Cook and Lake Counties in Illinois, due to lake enhancement. One to three inches are expected between I-88 and I-80, with little or no snow expected south of I-80.

Two years ago, a blizzard dumped more than 20 inches of snow on Chicago in the first days of February. This year, the month began with persistent smaller snowfalls that are likely to continue into the workweek.

The city could get a brief reprieve from the snow Monday night, but by Tuesday the weather service is predicting an 80 percent chance of more snow.

"This weekend it snowed every 24 hours. The third in a series of four disturbances will bring cold air and enough moisture to rattle out a few inches of snow [starting Sunday night]," National Weather Service meteorologist Matt Friedlein said.

The frequency of snow to start the month is not uncommon, but has been for this winter, he said. As of Sunday morning, the city had received only about 6 inches of snow this winter— 9 inches below normal.

"Certainly February is still wintertime in Chicago," Friedlein said. "So we still have chances for snow … We haven't had 9 inches total this winter, but February is off to a good start to get to normal — if not exceed it."

On Feb. 1, 2011, a two-day blizzard dropped 20.2 inches of snow at O'Hare International Airport. The storm — which included lightning, thunder and small hail — was the third-largest snowstorm on record in Chicago.

The average monthly snowfall for February in Chicago is 9.1 inches, the weather service said. The average temperature is 27.7 degrees.

Chicagoans experienced a warmer than normal January, when the average temperature was almost 3 degrees above normal, the weather service said.

The temperature is expected to warm above freezing by mid-week, and rain is possible Thursday, the weather service said.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

Chicago hit with most snowfall this winter so far

Chicagoans haven't seen much winter weather this year, but the snow came down in droves overnight. Residents woke up to two inches on the ground, and stepped to working on clearing it before work. More>>

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