— The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is advising the public that a major storm with heavy rains, flooding, and double-digit snowfalls will create slick conditions, impacting travel across much of the state starting tonight through Thursday.
The mixture of precipitation and rapidly changing weather likely will produce the potential for sudden icing on roads, with high winds leading to blowing snow and reduced visibility.
“The Illinois Department of Transportation’s snow-and-ice teams will be prepared and out in force,” said IDOT director Omer Osman. “The public needs to be ready for conditions to change quickly and worsen if they are out on the roads.”
“As always during periods of extreme weather, the safest option is to postpone any unnecessary trips and stay home,” Osman adds. “If you must travel, prepare for very slow and potentially hazardous conditions. Please slow down around our plows and other emergency vehicles, giving them plenty of room to do their jobs.”
Rain, wintry mix expected in Illinois
The National Weather Service is predicting a wintry mix of precipitation to start with thunderstorms and heavy rain in much of the state this evening, converting to freezing rain overnight before turning to snow Thursday morning. In addition to localized flooding, ice and sleet accumulations are likely, creating extremely slippery surfaces and slick conditions.
Much of the state will see accumulating snow throughout the day Thursday, with the highest totals in the central and north regions. Up to 10 inches is predicted from Quincy northwest to Pontiac, Bloomington-Normal, and Kankakee, with parts of the Chicago area receiving close to 7 inches. Winds in excess of 40 mph will make driving difficult, especially for high-profile vehicles on east-west roads, while causing snow to blow and drift.
Due to the rainy conditions ahead of temperatures falling overnight, the effectiveness of pretreating and salting surfaces in advance of significant snowfall will be limited. The public should anticipate icy conditions even when roads appear clear and greatly reduce speeds.
“As the Illinois State Police plans to take on the unpredictable Illinois weather, we would like to remind motorists to do their part in keeping the roads a safe place,” Illinois State Police director Brendan Kelly said. “ISP, alongside IDOT and other agencies, will be working in hazardous weather conditions. Please remember to slow down, stay vigilant, and move over for any vehicle on the side of the road.”
Statewide, IDOT has available more than 1,800 trucks and equipment to plow, treat roads, and respond to weather emergencies. If you encounter a plow or any maintenance vehicle during your travels, please slow down, increase your following distance and remain patient. Do not attempt to pass – conditions in front of the plow will be worse than behind it.
Tips for road travel
If travel is absolutely necessary, utilize the following steps:
Turn around, don’t drown
Do not attempt to drive through flooded roads. Do not drive around barricades. Delay travel until conditions improve.
Take it easy on the roads
Drastically reduce speeds and take it slow. This is especially true when approaching intersections, ramps, bridges, and shaded areas prone to icing.
Preparation, preparation, preparation
Make sure your gas tank is full. Keep a cell phone, warm clothes, blankets, food, water, a first-aid kit, washer fluid, and an ice scraper in your vehicle. Dial *999 in the Chicagoland area for assistance in case of emergency.
Check the forecast and make sure someone is aware of your route and schedule. Visit the Getting Around Illinois
website for regular updates on Illinois road conditions.
As a public service, we offer road condition maps for both Illinois and Missouri on our website.
Take proper precautions if you’re stuck, are in a crash or your vehicle breaks down
Using handheld phones while driving is illegal in Illinois unless it is an emergency.
If you are involved in a crash or break down, remain inside your vehicle. Your vehicle is the safest form of shelter. Exiting your vehicle into live traffic can have fatal consequences.
Always wear a seat belt, whether you’re sitting in the front seat or back seat. It’s the law. Never get behind the wheel impaired.
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