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Blast of winter in Illinois to impact travel this week

Winter Scene
Joshua Fuller/Unsplash

The Illinois Department of Transportation and Illinois State Police are advising the public that the first significant winter storm of the season is anticipated Monday night and Tuesday, creating slick conditions, reduced visibility and slower travel across much of the state, with some areas expected to receive more than 10 inches of snow.

To prepare, IDOT’s snow and ice teams will be pretreating roads and bridges as necessary today, with plowing operations ongoing throughout the storm and continuing in the days afterward.

“Our team at IDOT spends the entire year preparing for snow and ice season, but the public’s cooperation is essential to ensure everyone’s safety,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “The safest option during winter weather always is to avoid unnecessary trips. If you are driving, expect travel to be slow and build plenty of extra time into your schedule throughout the week. Conditions may be dangerous at times. And please give our plows and trucks room to operate during any storm and after the snow has stopped falling.”

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning and advisory beginning this evening for much of the northern half of the state. Snow accumulations are expected to range from 1 to 5 inches east of Interstate 55, with higher totals to the west, including up to 11 inches in the Rockford area and a foot or more in northwest Illinois and the Quad Cities. Between 1 and
5 inches are anticipated in the Chicago area. Significant rain is forecast for the southern regions of Illinois.

Gusts up to 45 mph will create blowing and drifting, reducing visibility and making snow-removal efforts a challenge.

Statewide, IDOT has available more than 1,800 trucks and equipment to treat roads, spread salt, plow snow and respond to weather emergencies.

If you must travel, be advised your destination could have significantly higher amounts of snow than where your trip originated. Slow down, anticipate much longer travel times, increase braking distances and expect conditions to deteriorate.

“With winter weather moving into Illinois, remember to be prepared and use caution,” said ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly. “Simple things like making sure to clear any snow and ice from your vehicle before you get on the road, planning extra time for your drive so you can take it slow, and moving over for emergency vehicles who are handling crashes because of the weather can mean the difference between a safe trip and a deadly one.”

Another storm is predicted to hit later this week, with more snow forecasted along with bitter cold.

Tips if you must travel:

• Ask yourself first: Is this trip really necessary or can it be postponed?

• Check current road conditions 24/7 at GettingAroundIllinois.com. You also can follow IDOT on Facebook and X.

• Check the forecast and make sure someone is aware of your travel route and schedule.

• Fill up your tank or fully charge your vehicle and pack winter weather essentials, such as a cell phone charger, warm clothes, blankets, food, water, first aid kit, washer fluid and ice scraper.

• Use extra caution in areas susceptible to icing, including ramps, bridges, curves and shaded areas. Watch for black ice. A road may appear clear but can be extremely slippery.

• Give snowplows plenty of room – don’t crowd the plow! And do not attempt to pass. Conditions in front of the plow are going to be worse than behind it.

• Give them distance. Obey the Move Over law by slowing down and changing lanes when approaching ANY stopped vehicle.

• Always wear a seat belt. It’s the law and your best protection in the event of a crash.

• Drop it and drive. Put down the mobile devices. This, too, is the law.

• If you are involved in a crash, remain inside your vehicle. Exiting your vehicle near a busy road can have fatal consequences.

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