Another inch of snow is forecast for Tuesday, but it isn't expected to hamper commuters who began the week driving to work in the heaviest snow to hit the Chicago area in nearly a year.
The snow is predicted to hit Chicago by the middle of the day, according to the National Weather Service, so it could possibly affect the beginning of the evening drive home.
But it shouldn't be anything like the mess Monday morning, when more than 2 1/2 inches fell, according to the weather service, snarling many roads. The snowstorm was the city's largest since Feb. 24 and the fourth consecutive day of measurable snowfall at O'Hare International Airport.
This winter still has a lot of catching up to do. As of Monday evening, only 8.7 inches of snow had been recorded in Chicago this winter, compared with almost 14 inches by the same date last winter and an average of 21.5 inches by Feb. 4.
With snow so sparse this year, Monday's storm was a rude awakening for many, particularly commuters who had to get reacquainted with their snow scrapers.
The Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation dispatched 284 trucks — its full fleet — to clear the roads and lay down salt, spokeswoman Anne Sheahan said. Illinois State Police responded to dozens of accidents on area expressways.
"They're everywhere," Master Sgt. Jason LoCoco said of accidents at the height of the morning rush hour.
But seasoned Chicago drivers were unfazed.
"I drove in, and I drove slower," said Trasha Embry, 44, an attorney who anticipated delays on her drive from the South Side into the Loop, and adjusted her normal commuting time to dodge the brunt of the snowfall.
Andrew Ulm, 49, also planned ahead, leaving a half-hour early from Aurora for a doctor's appointment in the Loop. The drive wound up taking 90 minutes, he said.
"They were fair, but it was a crawl," Ulm said of conditions on the roads he traveled between 6:30 and 8 a.m.
When Alicia Krawitz, 28, drove to the gym at 6 a.m. Monday, traffic was moving slowly because "people were just getting out there, realizing what the roads were like."
Her drive from Old Town to the Loop a few hours later was much smoother. "The roads were perfect," she said.
Sheahan advised travelers to be patient and cautious as they navigate the roads Tuesday, saying the department's "trucks can only move as fast as traffic is moving."
Tuesday's snow threat to commuters is "considerably less" that what happened Monday morning, said Casey Sullivan, a meteorologist with the weather service.
"It'll be slightly different," Sullivan said.Copyright © 2015, RedEye