Quinn Calls in the Guard

More than 500 troops have been called upon for help.

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Gov. Pat Quinn has activated more than 500 Illinois National Guard troops to assist during Chicago's pending snow deluge.

The move is part of state efforts to prep for what could be one of Chicago's biggest blizzards ever. According to a statement from the governor's office, guards will be stationed at rest areas along highways, including I-70 and north of I-70, to help stranded motorists and work with Illinois State Police to ensure driver safety.

Troops will carry emergency supplies, such as water, snack bars and roadside safety tips. They'll also relay info about road conditions and accidents to police.

"I'm proud that the Illinois National Guard is able to play our part in responding to this winter storm," said Maj. Gen. William L. Enyart, the Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard, in the statement. "Our Soldiers and Airmen respond to the Governor's call to help in state emergencies just as we answer the President's call to serve overseas. It takes selfless citizens to serve in today's National Guard, whether in Illinois or across the world."

Troops are heading in from Decatur, Springfield and Kewanee. The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC), which Quinn activated Monday afternoon, will "operate around the clock until the storm threat subsides."

A Blizzard Watch goes into effect for Chicago at 3 p.m. Before it ends at 3 p.m. Wednesday, we could see up to 2 feet of snow mixed with thunderstorms and intense, 50 mile-per-hour winds.

Schools announced early closings today, and CTA officials say they are poised to offer additional service if downtown workers head home earlier in the day.

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