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Winter storm advisory extended into morning as snow continues

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Updated: February 27, 2013 9:42AM

The storm system that dumped 15 inches of snow in parts of the Midwest has arrived in the Chicago area and the National Weather Service has extended its Winter Weather Advisory until 6 a.m. Wednesday.

By Wednesday morning, there could be 6 to 10 inches on the ground, with the heaviest snowfall coming the northwest suburbs , according to the National Weather Service.

A messy combination of sleet and wet snow began falling in DuPage and Kane counties Tuesday morning, and by early afternoon was starting to stick on the roads. Lake and McHenry counties remain under a winter weather warning until 6 a.m., as wet, heavy snow continues to fall across the Chicago area -- as much as an inch per hour in some places.

Other Chicago-area counties in Illinois could see between 4 and 7 inches on the ground by Wednesday morning, the weather service said. Higher amounts could fall in the western and northern suburbs, with lower totals to the south and in northwest Indiana.

A winter weather watch for Cook and DuPage counties has been extended until 6 a.m. But that same watch was called off at about 9 p.m. for Will, Kane and Kendall counties.

Elburn saw about 4.5 inches as of mid-afternoon, while 3.9 inches of snow had fallen in Winfield.

Additionally, the weather service is warning area residents that what falls will likely be a heavy, wet snow, “sometimes referred to as heart attack snow” and that people should take extra care not to over-exert themselves while shoveling.

More than 510 flights have been cancelled at O’Hare as of Tuesday night, where more than 4 inches of snow had fallen. Roughly 170 flights had been cancelled at Midway. Delays were averaging 60 to 90 minutes at O’Hare, and at least 30 minutes at Midway as of about 8:30 p.m.

The weather also disrupted local commuter rail service when a snow plow got stuck on Metra’s Union Pacific West line tracks. Some commuters between Elburn and Chicago were delayed up to 55 minutes until the plow could be removed, Metra’s website said.The Illinois Tollway mobilized all of its 182 snowplows and canceled all temporary lane closures through 7 a.m. Thursday morning.

Lighter snow will likely continue to fall at least through Thursday, forecasters said, as the system stalls over the Great Lakes region.

Meteorologist Matt Friedlein, said the incoming system has the feel of a March storm, in which the near-freezing temperatures makes it tricky to predict rain or snow.

“It’s a very fine line between a major impact and potentially none, with it all being rain,” Friedlein said.

Temperatures the rest of the week will be in the 30s, with the possibility of some occasional light snow — around an inch or so — if a system moves into the area Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.

“It’s some cruddy weather to kick off March and close out February,” National Weather Service meteorologist Gino Izzi said. “This week will be day after day of dreary, dismal weather.”

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