winter storm warning

Winter Storm Warnings Take Effect, Hundreds of Flights Canceled

The National Weather Service has issued winter storm warnings for large portions of Illinois and northwest Indiana on Tuesday, with heavy snow and dangerous travel conditions expected throughout the region.

Here is how NBC 5's coverage of the winter storm evolved, with our live blog resuming coverage Wednesday morning.

Projected Snowfall Totals From Across Northern Illinois, NW Indiana as Winter Storm Approaches

The NBC 5 Storm Team has been tracking the threat of a significant winter storm that is expected to cause serious travel issues and heavy snowfall across northern Illinois and northwest Indiana this week, and we're getting a glimpse into just how much snow could fall.

The hardest-hit areas will likely be in Chicago's southern suburbs and in northwest Indiana, with more than a foot of snow possible in some locations, but the latest projections have also moved heavier snowfall further north, with some enhancement from Lake Michigan possible in the city of Chicago.

You can find the latest updates on snowfall projections here.

Hundreds of Flights Canceled at Chicago Airports

As snow begins to impact Midway and O'Hare, more than 300 flights have already been canceled due to the winter storm.

As of 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, 299 flights were canceled at O'Hare, with 77 more canceled at Midway.

You can track the latest statistics throughout the morning at this link from the Chicago Department of Aviation.

Track the Storm With Live Doppler 5

We are tracking the arrival of this week's winter storm with Live Doppler 5, and you can stay tuned to the radar at the player above, or via our interactive radar here:

10:43 p.m.: Winter Storm to Snarl Morning Commute, Create Hazardous Travel Conditions Wednesday

Motorists are being urged to stay off of area roadways as much as possible on Wednesday, as heavy snow is expected to snarl the morning commute and to challenge snowplow drivers as they try to keep roads passable.

According to the National Weather Service, the heaviest snowfall on Wednesday is expected to fall during the morning commute, with an inch or more of snow possible per hour during the worst part of the winter storm.

“I strongly encourage you to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Tuesday. “Statewide, we have more than 1,800 trucks and plows ready to go.”

The governor issued a disaster declaration, paving the way for the National Guard to provide assistance during the storm.

In Chicago, the city’s Streets and Sanitation department has deployed its fleet of more than 200 salt spreaders and plows to help keep arterial roads, as well as DuSable Lake Shore Drive, as clear as possible.

10 p.m.: Winter Storm Warning Takes Effect in Kankakee County, Most of NW Indiana

A winter storm warning has taken effect in Kankakee County in Illinois, along with Lake, Porter, Newton and Jasper counties in Indiana, according to the National Weather Service.

The warning will remain in effect through 6 p.m. Thursday, according to the alert.

The impacted area is expected to be hardest-hit by this week's winter storm, with anywhere from 9-to-14 inches of snow possible by Wednesday afternoon alone. Some locations could see even more snow, depending on the track of the storm.

Snowfall rates could exceed an inch per hour, especially on Wednesday morning and into the early afternoon, officials said.

The heavy snow will likely cause "very difficult to impossible" travel conditions, with plows struggling to keep up with the rapid snowfall.

Snow is expected to ease considerably or even briefly end on Wednesday evening, but more snow is expected to develop Thursday morning, and could drop 2-to-4 additional inches of accumulation on the region by Thursday evening.

8:40 p.m.: More Schools Move Classes to Remote Learning, With Some Remaining Away Through Thursday

Schools in Orland Park will switch to remote learning, as will Calumet City and Lincoln-Way schools.  Several Joliet schools, including Joliet Township High Schools, will also be moving to e-learning.

Peotone schools will be closed both Wednesday and Thursday, with students switching to remote learning. Columbia Central School in Steger will also be remote-learning through Thursday, along with Crown Point schools in Indiana.

For the most up-to-date information on school closures, please visit this link to the Emergency Closing Center.

8 p.m.: Winter Storm Warning Takes Effect in Parts of Northern Illinois

A winter storm warning is now in effect in central and southern Cook County, as well as DuPage, LaSalle, Kendall, Grundy and Will counties, according to the National Weather Service.

The warning will run through 6 p.m. Wednesday, with the main effects of the weather likely starting to make an impact after midnight.

Officials say that travel will become extremely difficult, especially during the Wednesday morning commute, as between 5-to-12 inches of snow could fall in some locations, especially in the southern portions of the warning area.

Snowfall rates of an inch or more per hour are possible with the storm.

7:28 p.m.: A Timeline Emerges on How Winter Storm Will Impact Area

Winter storm warnings have been issued, and residents have been urged to take safety precautions ahead of a snow storm that could potentially dump a foot or more of snow on the Chicago-area in the next two days.

According to forecasters, rain that is falling across the area Tuesday will slowly transition to snow, and when it does it could potentially create traffic headaches on Wednesday and Thursday across the region.

The worst of the snow is expected to occur on Wednesday morning, leading to a snarled morning commute and hazardous travel conditions in numerous areas.

While the snow is likely to subside late Wednesday, some areas could see even more snow on Thursday morning, with an additional 2-to-5 inches possible in some locations.

Here's what we know so far.

5:52 p.m.: Snow, Rain Mix Beginning to Fall in Some Suburbs

The National Weather Service says that a rain-snow mix is beginning to fall in northern and western Illinois, and as temperatures drop the precipitation will eventually transition to all snow:

5:28 p.m.: Several COVID Vaccination Sites to Close Due to Weather

Due to inclement weather in the foreacst, Cook County Health has announced that it will shut down its mass COVID vaccination sites in Matteson, Forest Park and Des Plaines on Wednesday.

Officials said residents can visit the county's website for more information on upcoming vaccination events, and for updates on when the sites will reopen.

4:38 p.m.: Experts Offer Safety Tips to Motorists, Pet Owners Ahead of Heavy Snow

A winter storm is moving into northern Illinois and northwest Indiana on Tuesday, and experts are offering tips on how residents can stay safe amid treacherous conditions.

A winter storm warning has been issued for large swaths of the Chicago-area and northwest Indiana, with a foot or more of snow possible in far southern suburbs.

With serious travel impacts and heavy snow expected to last for several days, here are some tips from a variety of agencies to help keep you and your loved ones safe.

3:53 p.m.: More Schools Switch to Remote Learning as Storm Approaches

Dozens of schools have now announced switches to remote learning, as a winter storm threatens to dump a foot or more of snow in the southern suburbs and in northwest Indiana.

The latest round of school learning adjustments was announced Tuesday afternoon in Tinley Park, Palos Heights and Homewood, among others. All of those school districts have announced that they will switch to remote learning for Wednesday.

Schools in Orland Park will also switch to remote learning, according to officials.

Schools in Steger and Ford Heights will be moved to remote learning on both Wednesday and Thursday, according to officials.

You can always check the most up-to-date list of school closures here.

2:30 p.m.: The Latest School Closures, E-Learning Moves in Illinois and Indiana

For the most up-to-date information on school closures, please visit this link to the Emergency Closing Center.

As a winter storm bears down on Illinois and Indiana, numerous schools districts have already canceled classes or announced switches to remote learning for Wednesday.

In Illinois, several school districts in suburban Oak Lawn have already announced changes to their schedule. District 123, which covers Oak Lawn and Hometown, will switch to e-learning on Wednesday, while District 122, the Ridgeland School District, will close its buildings completely.

Schools in Flossmoor, Calumet City and Hillside will all switch to remote learning on Wednesday because of the snow, as will District 143 in Midlothian and Forest Ride School District 142 in Oak Forest.

While no decision has been made yet on whether to make adjustments to schedules for Chicago Public Schools, several private institutions have already made changes, including Midwestern Christian Academy and St. Mary Star of the Sea, both of which will switch to remote learning.

Chicago-area residents are preparing Tuesday for over a foot of snow in an overnight winter storm, which could cause dangerous conditions for travel over the next two days. NBC 5's Lisa Chavarria reports.

1:40 p.m.: Pritzker Issues Disaster Declaration Ahead of Major Winter Storm

Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a disaster declaration Tuesday afternoon ahead, activating the Illinois National Guard, ahead of an anticipated severe winter storm.

Approximately 130 members of the Illinois National Guard have been activated to ensure state resources are available to combat heavy snow, ice and "blizzard conditions" expected to hit over the next several days, a release said.

“I’m authorizing a disaster proclamation for Winter Storm Landon, effective immediately, to support local government disaster response and recovery operations wherever necessary. I want to assure county and local officials and everyone in the path of the storm that my administration will provide resources every step of the way,” said Pritzker. “On the ground, all state assets stand ready to assist. I encourage everyone to do what you can to stay safe: listen to local authorities to stay up to date with the latest conditions in your community and make sure your household has essentials.”

The Illinois Department of Transportation will deploy more than 1,800 trucks and equipment to plow and treat roads, as well as respond to any weather emergencies, officials said.

Ice jams and automotive problems are just two of the things residents have to deal with during a winter storm, and NBC 5's Lexi Sutter talks to experts who offer tips on what to look for.

1 p.m.: Experts Offer Tips on Dealing With Ice Jams, Automotive Issues as Winter Storms Approach

Chicago-area residents are still digging out from a serious snowfall over the weekend, so with more snow potentially bearing down on the region, preventative measures are a must.

Many homeowners are working to clear ice dams that have formed on the top of their residences, something that technician Jake Kahnke from Ice Dam Guys is all too familiar with, as many homes are dealing with the issue.

Ice dams, ridges of ice that form along the edges of a roof, can prevent melting snow from draining off of a roof. With nowhere for the water to go, it can leak into attics and even into living spaces.

Ice dams can also form around skylights, vents and areas where two inclined sides of a roof meet, according to the Ice Dam Guys.

Typically, ice dams can be cleared using steam or other tactics, and the Ice Dam Guys have an exhaustive list of principles for homeowners and business owners to adhere to when it comes to safe ice dam removal.

Things can also get hairy when it comes to ground-based property, including cars, as mechanics say that wintry weather can cause serious automotive issues.

“The cold weather, the snow, the salt, everything like that brings out all the problems,” Matt Tefka, owner of the Fulton Des Plaines Garage, said. “We see lots of batteries, lots of tires, and lots of things that were rusted tend to break in the cold too.”

Motorists are reminded to keep a bundle of cold-weather gear, including food, blankets, warm clothing, flashlights and a glass scraper, in their vehicle during cold weather, according to AAA.

12:30 p.m.: Winter Storm Could Bring 'Extremely Dangerous, Life-Threatening' Travel Conditions, Illinois Officials Warn

A major winter storm headed for Illinois Tuesday evening lasting several days could bring "extremely dangerous" and "life-threatening" travel conditions across the state, officials warned.

The storm system is expected to contain periods of heavy snow, rain, ice, high winds and bitter cold, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation, which could lead to whiteout conditions, making some roads "impassable."

“The Illinois Department of Transportation spends the entire year preparing for snow-and-ice season and is ready to respond around the clock to this significant weather event, but clearly the public needs to be prepared for the worst-case scenario and postpone all unnecessary travel,” Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman said in a release. “Always remember, during extreme weather, the safest option is to stay home. If you must be on the roads, please be prepared for the real possibility of becoming stranded if you are unable to make it to your destination. Your cooperation and patience will be essential to keeping everyone safe the next several days.”

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