Illinois State Police in Chicago have activated their “emergency snow plan” for Cook County, saying that they will only respond to significant crashes and stranded motorists in the coming hours as heavy snow continues to fall across the area.
According to a Facebook post, the plan went into effect at 3:20 p.m., and includes a “no tow” order, which means that vehicles that are stuck in ditches or on shoulders will not be towed until conditions improve.
Stranded motorists will still be transported to safe locations, but their vehicles will not be immediately towed away, police said.
Feeling out of the loop? We'll catch you up on the Chicago news you need to know. Sign up for the weekly Chicago Catch-Up newsletter here.
While police will still respond to personal injury or significant crashes, according to the Facebook post, they will not respond to minor-property damage crashes, and will handle those reports at a later date.
Motorists are being asked to stay off area roadways unless absolutely necessary.
In northwest Indiana, police are asking motorists to stay off of Interstate 65, which is closed in several spots due to a series of crashes.
One crash near mile marker 235 has shut down the southbound lanes of the interstate, with police asking stranded motorists not to call 911 due to a massive influx of calls in the area.
More than an inch of snow per hour is currently falling across the area, leaving snow plows struggling to keep even the busiest roadways clear.
Motorists are being urged to use extremely caution, and only to travel if absolutely necessary in both Illinois and Indiana.
The worst of the snow is expected to begin to slow in the early evening hours, with most snow ending by 9 p.m.