City, county and state agencies are activating their fleets of snow plows and salt spreaders ahead of a winter storm that is expected to wallop the state Monday and into Tuesday.
Forecasts are calling for heavy snowfall across northern Illinois, with a winter storm warning in effect for much of the Chicago area, and for freezing rain, snow and hail in central and southern Illinois. A winter weather advisory is in effect for far southern portions of the NBC 5 viewing area, as well as swaths of central Illinois.
The Illinois Department of Transportation is mobilizing its fleet of snow vehicles to combat the storm, with salt spreaders and plows set to try to keep roads safe during the storm.
“Our crews at IDOT are mobilized and prepared for the return of winter weather this week,” Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman in a statement. “As always in periods of inclement weather, the safest option is to stay home. If you must drive, slow down, give the road your undivided attention and please do not crowd our plows.”
The department says it will have more than 1,800 pieces of equipment and trucks available statewide, and crews will work throughout the storm to salt roads and to plow snow.
The Illinois Tollway is also deploying its fleet of nearly 200 snowplows to cover the highways under its jurisdiction, and will activate the Snow Operations Center to coordinate responses to the storm.
Drivers whose vehicles become disabled during the storm are being asked to remain in their cars, activate their hazard lights, and to call *999 from a phone to ask for assistance from the Illinois Tollway and Illinois State Police. Drivers will be asked to provide the roadway, direction of travel and the nearest milepost or cross road to help authorities locate their vehicles.
The city of Chicago’s Department of Streets and Sanitation also plans to mobilize its fleet of snow vehicles on Monday, covering more than 9,400 miles of roadway in the city.
Motorists are advised to drive slowly, especially when approaching intersections and bridges. Residents are also asked to fill their gas tanks, and to keep a winter emergency kit in their cars, including warm clothes, blankets, food, water, a first aid kit and an ice scraper.