The storm began tapering off as of 6:15 p.m., but travel times on expressways remained tortuously long, with some commutes more than four hours long.
As of 9 p.m., the storm left southwest suburban Joliet buried in 9.1 inches of snow, with 5.4 inches recorded at O’Hare Airport, according to the National Weather Service. The total at Midway Airport was 7.3 inches.
West suburban Downers Grove received 6.8 inches and northwest suburban McHenry had gotten 7.8 inches, according to the NWS.
Snowfall in south suburban Beecher was measured at 8 inches as of 8:45 p.m., while north suburban Winnetka had gotten 6 inches of the white stuff as of about 9:20 p.m., according to the NWS.
After midnight, northeast winds off Lake Michigan could stir up lake effect snow in Indiana and Lake and Cook counties in Illinois, but any additional accumulation is not expected to surpass another inch or two in very localized areas, according to the weather service.
The decision to reroute buses off the drive brought back memories of the blizzard nearly a year ago, when the road was shut down and as many as 1,500 vehicles were stranded overnight after a bus spun out near the Belmont exit.
At 3:30 p.m. today, with snow falling about an inch an hour, the city announced it was rerouting all 15 bus routes off Lake Shore Drive after drivers reported that they were “encountering problems using the entrance and exit ramps," said CTA spokeswoman Catherine Hosinski.
As of about 6:30 p.m. buses that operate north of Roosevelt Road on Lake Shore Drive were back on their normal routes, while all buses south of Roosevelt resumed normal routes by 8:15 p.m., the CTA said. Some delays remained because of traffic conditions.
Although Lake Shore Drive was snow-covered and slick like most roads and expressways in the area, travel times were actually much better than some other routes.
Motorists on the Drive from Bryn Mawr to Randolph managed average speeds of 20 mph, while speeds from 55th Street to Jackson averaged about 10 mph.
At the height of the evening rush the inbound Edens Expressway from Deerfield Road to the Circle was about four hours. The inbound Edens from Lake Cook to the Circle was about the same.
The inbound Kennedy from O’Hare to the Circle was more than two hours, while the outbound Kennedy from the Circle to O’Hare was also more than two hours.
On the inbound Eisenhower, it was almost four hours from Thorndale to the Circle and the way back was just more than three hours.
Travel times on the Ryan were nearly an hour either way between 95th and the Circle.
There were still plenty of spinouts despite the low speeds.
“We’ve had a bunch of accidents and spinouts all over the district,’’ said Illinois State Police District Chicago Trooper Michael Bobko. No serious injuries were reported.
"Plows are out there but they’re slow because of the rush hour,’’ Bobko said. “People just need to slow down.’’