Blizzard could leave more than a foot of snow in Chicago by Monday

(Chicago)  With an upcoming blizzard and up to 15 inches of snow expected, the National Weather Service is asking Chicago area residents not to travel during Super Bowl Sunday.

“Driving will become extraordinarily dangerous and we’re urging people to postpone any non-emergency travel,” said Ricky Castro, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Romeoville. “It’s just not worth it.”

The snow began falling Saturday night and as of 6 a.m., 3.5 inches had fallen at O’Hare, according to the weather service. In Romeoville, more than four inches of snow had fallen as of the same time.

The brunt of the storm and blizzard conditions will develop about 2 p.m. and continue into the evening, especially near Lake Michigan, where waves will reach as high as 16 feet, Castro said. A lakeshore flood advisory will also be in effect from 2 p.m. Sunday until 10 a.m. Monday.

Winds are expected to hit 35 to 40 mph, with stronger gusts along Lake Shore Drive, Castro said. Those winds will create near whiteout conditions for hours, which could mean less than a quarter mile of visibility.

When all is said and done, up to 15 inches of the white stuff called “snow” could greet Chicagoans to start the work week. Other parts of the Chicago region are expected to see between eight and 12 inches, according to the weather service.

The Illinois Department of Transportation deployed 1,700 plows across the state, and more than 350 city plows were deployed by Sunday morning, officials said.

Airlines at O’Hare International Airport had canceled more than 940 flights as of 7:30 a.m. Sunday and are operating on a reduced schedule, according to the city’s Department of Aviation. More than 190 flights have been canceled at Midway.

“Mother Nature has been kind to us so far, and our snow plow drivers and city crews have, and will continue to do a tremendous job throughout the winter to keep our streets paved, plowed and passable,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement Saturday after a briefing on the city’s snow preparedness.

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