Finally — Downtown Gets a Coating of Snow

By Emily Morris and Sam Cholke  on December 27, 2012 12:40pm  | Updated on December 27, 2012 3:29pm

CHICAGO — Flurries descended on downtown and other parts of the city Thursday, coating the area with a long-awaited snowfall.

The lake-effect snow also spread across parts of the city by early afternoon, National Weather Service meteorologist Richard Castro said. A few tenths of an inch accumulation was expected, according to the National Weather Service.

The snow was welcomed by families who hadn't seen significant snowfall in nearly a year.

Syria Spafford, 2, and her brother Luca, 4, received skis for Christmas and were trying them out at Nichols Park, 1355 E. 53rd St., in Hyde Park Thursday.

Their father, Jeremiah Spafford, said he grew up skiing in Vermont with his father, who gave the kids the skiis.

He said Thursday offered the first chance for the kids to use them.

It was also one of the first times in a while that Chicago drivers had to navigate through winter conditions, leading Castro to urge them to take caution.

"We've gotten some reports of visibility reductions up to a mile, but the snow generally is fairly light," he said. "There could be some slippery conditions on some of the less shoveled side road and parking lots."

More snow could be on the way Friday, and driving conditions could become worse.

"It will likely affect a more widespread area with snow accumulation, so it could have more impact on the roads," Castro said.

Castro said he does not expect an inch of snow at O'Hare Airport just yet, though the city's official measuring center might finally reach that benchmark Friday. Officials haven't measured an inch of snow at O'Hare in 306 consecutive days, the fourth-longest stretch on record, Castro said. The longest was 319 days, a record set in Jan. 6, 1940

Chicago airports were not reporting significant delays or cancellations except for some major weather-related delays on flights to the Northeast, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation and the Federal Aviation Administration.

Thursday's snow follows a storm that hit other parts of the Midwest hard and led to the cancellation of hundreds of flights last week — although generally missed the city. Lake effect snow also covered the North Side on Christmas Day but didn't show up in other neighborhoods.

The city at last broke its "snowless" record Dec. 20, when officials measured a mere two-tenths of an inch. Only four-tenths of an inch have been measured at O'Hare in total this season, Castro said.

While the light snow in the city might provide headaches for drivers, it pales in comparison to the Northeast region of the country, which was hammered with wind, snow and rain on Thursday. 

 

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