Metra experienced scattered delays on some lines this morning but they were nothing like the problems that plagued the commuter agency during the last arctic outbreak two weeks ago.
As the peak of the rush hour ended around 9 a.m., Metra had reported at least 12 delays ranging from about 13 to 22 minutes on six lines: the Burlington Northern Santa Fe, the Metra Electric District, the Milwaukee District North, SouthWest Service, Union Pacific Northwest and Union Pacific North.
Three of the delays were on the Milwaukee District North -- two inbound and one outbound -- and four were on the Metra Electric line, all inbound. Two were on the Burlington Northern, both inbound.
The causes for the delays included switch problems and weather conditions, according to Metra's website. One inbound Milwaukee District North train was off schedule because of an earlier delay that resulted in the train arriving late at the station.
During the last surge of polar air, Metra commuters faced delays of an hour or longer and the cancellation of dozens of trains. The problems persisted for a week, prompting apologies from Metra officials and launching at least two reviews into the agency's performance.
As the forecast called for a challenging commute this morning, Metra posted a warning to its riders overnight: "Unfortunately, weather conditions beyond our control will create unanticipated delays or service disruptions. Depending on the severity of conditions in specific areas, your train may experience delays."
No weather delays were reported on the CTA this morning, but outbound trains were stopped on the Blue Line at Logan Square, 2620 N. Milwaukee Ave., because of a report of someone stepping onto the tracks, the agency reported on its website. The Blue Line experienced major delays because of the stoppage, but trains were moving normally by late morning.
Police, who are trying to talk to witnesses to find out exactly what happened, said the man was on a train but decided to get off the back of the train for an unknown reason. He was injured and suffered cuts, but did not come in contact with the third rail. He was conscious when authorities were tending to him and is going to be taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, police said.
At the city's two airports, airlines had canceled more than 150 flights at O'Hare and about 30 at Midway as of 7:30 a.m., according to the Chicago Aviation Department.
Highways were slick and snow-covered, according to the state police, and commute times were doubled or more in some areas. Spin-outs were reported across the area but no major accidents or injuries.
"Yield to snowplows and take your time,"’ advised Illinois State Police Master Sgt. Jason LoCoco.
The inbound and outbound Day Ryan Expressway from about 35th Street to about 87th Street was backed up around 8 a.m., according to LoCoco said.
"The traffic volume is pretty heavy," LoCoco said.
The state police also reported hazardous road conditions on I-80 east of Ridge Road in far southwest suburban Minooka, where a multiple-vehicle crash involving two semis had occurred. Lanes are blocked in that area and several vehicles are in a ditch because of the bad conditions. That led to the police closing down the roadway later Tuesday morning to remove one of the trucks.
Conditions on expressways in northwest Indiana, where the lake-effect snow continues to fall heavily, are bad. Indiana State Police says traffic in both directions on Interstate 80/94 is at a standstill and that traffic on the Interstate 65 onto I-80/94 is getting backed up as a result.
Eastern Cook County remained under a lake-effect snow warning until 9 a.m., according to the National Weather Service. A foot of snow in parts of the county was "not out of question," the weather service said.
A wind chill advisory was in effect until 10 a.m. for Lake, McHenry and Kane counties. The high today is expected to be 7 to 11 degrees but wind chills could be as low as minus-10 to minus-20, the weather service said.
Organizers said the early turnout was a bit lower than usual, but plenty of hardy commuters braved the snow and cold on two wheels as part of the Winter Bike to Work Day.
Fran Tuite rolled in from Old Town to Daley Plaza, where cyclists warmed up with coffee before heading to the office.
"It's really not that bad," said Tuite, who commutes on bike year-round.