Ahead of what could be Chicago's biggest snowfall this season, the city's Office of Emergency Management and Department of Streets and Sanitation "urge residents to take precautions" as the approaching winter storm could bring heavy snow and high winds Monday into Tuesday.
"Hazardous conditions are likely to impact the Monday evening and Tuesday morning commutes," Chicago OEMC said in a statement. "Some power outages are possible due to the combined effects of the expected wetter nature of the snow and strong and gusty winds."
The city entities emphasized that safety is the top priority and that salt spreaders "are ready to respond and will first focus on addressing ice and snow along Chicago’s arterial routes and Lake Shore Drive to ensure they are safe and passable for motorists. Residents who must travel this evening are urged to drive according to conditions and reduce speeds."
To follow Chicago's snow fleet in real time, head to www.chicagoshovels.org.
City warming areas become available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at six community service centers when temperatures are at 32 degrees or below. The Garfield Community Service Center, 10 S. Kedzie, is open "on a 24-hour basis to connect families and residents to emergency shelter."
A winter storm warning issued by the National Weather Service will take effect Monday afternoon in numerous locations and run through Tuesday evening.
In DeKalb, Kane, LaSalle, Kendall and Grundy counties, the warning will take effect at 1 p.m. Monday and will run through noon on Tuesday. In McHenry County, the warning will go into effect at 4 p.m. Monday and expire at noon Tuesday.
In Lake, DuPage, Cook and Will counties, the warning will go into effect at 4 p.m. Monday and expire at 5 p.m. Tuesday.
According to current forecast models, those areas could see 5-to-8 inches of snow, with locally heavier totals possible. Travel conditions could be hazardous due to heavy snowfall Monday evening, and wind gusts of 30 to 40 miles per hour could make conditions even more dangerous.
Locations along Lake Michigan, including Lake and Cook counties, could see lake enhancement of the snow, leading to locally heavier totals. Most of that area will also see 5-to-8 inches of snow.
Further south, a winter weather advisory has been issued for Kankakee County and eastern Will County due to the storm. In those locations, snow is still possible, especially in northern portions of that area, but the big threat could be ice, as one-tenth of an inch of ice is possible as the storm moves through.
That advisory will take effect Monday afternoon and expire Tuesday evening, and also includes Lake County in Indiana.