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Chicago Weather: Heavy Snow Blanketing City And Suburbs, Making For Treacherous Travel Overnight

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The snow has been falling steadily for the past few hours, and it's quickly starting to pile up.

CBS 2's Steven Graves has been monitoring the storm in the Mobile Weather Lab, driving all across the suburbs, where snow has gradually piled up and visibility has gotten worse.

At least an inch of snow was on the ground by 9 p.m. in much of the northern suburbs, with higher totals to the south and west, as the storm system moves to the northeast

Seems to be the story across the suburbs, CBS 2 saw snow plows coming through slowly. Cars are few, not going very fast, which is good.

A north suburban gas station worker saw things get worse as time passed.

"I've been going out putting ice melt in the parking lot, and it's been coming down hard, and I have to keep putting more ice melt, because it keeps coming and coming. My manager keeps texting me: 'Put more ice melt, put more ice melt.' And I told her it's hard, because it just keeps coming," Steven Figureroa said.

Meantime, in the city, Streets and Sanitation snow plows have been focusing on the main streets and Lake Shore Drive, leaving residential side streets neglected early in the storm. Sidewalks are also getting little attention so far, with the heaviest snow expected to continue until about 2 a.m., and likely hours to go after that before the snow tapers off altogether.

"It's all kind of bad out everywhere," Angela Crenshaw told CBS 2's Jeremy Ross.

In the first hours of the winter blast, some pavement was a treat for the trail of traffic on main thoroughfares, but side streets suffered in the storm.

"It's windy out and it's kind of hard to see," Crenshaw said. "It's a little bit slippery."

"I would stay in if I was anybody else," Crenshaw added.

"Main roads is good, but side roads it's, sometimes it's nothing. It's so bad," Tetyana Blyshak said.

Though most side streets were blanketed with snow, and some main roads weren't much better off, Blyshak chose to travel them both.

"I'm doing Uber Eats delivery," she said. "It's, like, really busy, It's a lot of orders."

The winter storm meant a surge in carryout, and big business for Blyshak, though driving in these conditions required even bigger precautions.

"Try to, like, keep distance between other cars," she said. "I can try to drive, like, really slow to stay safe."

Crenshaw drove to the Portage Park neighborhood from downtown, describing it as less than a leisure trip.

"Drove the long way, because the expressway is a little bit shaky," she said. "You can never predict it. It's just the way it is, I guess. We were waiting for this to come, though."

The city of Chicago said its full fleet of 300 snow plows and salt spreaders will focus on clearing main streets and Lake Shore Drive to start before moving to residential side streets once the main roads are clear.

The Illinois Department of Transportation said it has a fleet of 1,800 trucks statewide to keep state highways and interstates clear.

Officials stress people should not be traveling in these conditions if it's not necessary.

CBS 2's Steven Graves and Jeremy Ross contributed to this report.

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