CHICAGO — The snowstorm that left scores of flights canceled, driving conditions challenging and some lucky kids out of school landed in the record books Tuesday night.
The storm dumped about 9.2 inches of snow by midnight, according to the National Weather Service.
It was the biggest snowfall since the Groundhog Day Blizzard of 2011, which left cars stranded on Lake Shore Drive and made for some iconic snapshots of the city in February of that year.
Chicago since learned from the experience and installed two removable barriers on the northern section of drive, one of which was removed on Tuesday to let emergency vehicles easily get to potential emergency situations.
It was also the most snow in March since 2008, when about 7.9 inches of snow was measured for the entire month, National Weather Service meteorologist Mark Ratzer said.
About 1,200 flights were canceled at O'Hare and Midway airports Tuesday, and Southwest Airlines had canceled nearly all its flights before 6 p.m.
More than 75 flights had been canceled out of O'Hare and a few flights out of Midway on Wednesday morning as snow moved to the East Coast, according to the city's department of aviation.
For all the snowy mayhem, Chicago Public Schools did not cancel class, though many suburban schools and some private schools in the city called off classes or let kids out early. Some DePaul students had fun in the snow after classes were canceled at the university in the afternoon.
The city's full fleet of snowplows was out to battle the flurries as they fell, and salting trucks attempted to make the roads driveable. But plenty of cars spun out in slippery conditions, and some ended up in ditches. No serious accidents were reported, an Illinois State Police trooper said.
But the snow also gave Chicagoans a long-awaited chance to play in the fluffy stuff during a winter season that didn't see a full inch of snow until Jan. 25.
Jim Toolis, who lives in Canaryville, took his two boys sledding Tuesday afternoon. He watched from the bottom of the hill at Bridgeport's Palmisano Park as his kids raced each other on their sleds.
"I went down it a couple times," Toolis said smiling. "But man, it's tough going up that hill."
Roads were still slushy and somewhat slick Wednesday morning, but the blizzard ended and only a few flurries were on the horizon.
The rest of the week looks to be "better," Ratzer said, with little accumulating snowfall and even some warmer temperatures during the weekend.
Highs in the 30s are expected Wednesday through Friday, though Saturday and Sunday could see temperatures in the 40s and possible rain, according to the weather service.