Several agencies in Illinois are warning about hazardous travel during a snowstorm as the entire Chicago area remains under a winter weather advisory.
The National Weather Service warned snow could become heavy Thursday afternoon and early evening, bringing total accumulations between 2 and 5 inches along with wind gusts of up to 40 mph.
The combination of strong winds and snow could create hazardous travel for afternoon and evening commute.
"Areas of blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility," the advisory warns. "The hazardous conditions will likely impact the Thursday afternoon and evening commute. Pockets of blowing snow could continue to impact the Friday morning commute."
Gov. J.B Pritzker said he directed state public safety agencies to work with state and local agencies "to ensure the appropriate resources are available as artic cold temperatures and snow takes aim on our state."
Travel should be limited, officials said, but residents were urged to call ahead of time to destinations if travel is necessary.
City officials also urged residents who must travel Thursday to pay attention to conditions and reduce speeds as well as clean off their vehicles before the extreme cold temperatures expected this weekend.
If travel is necessary in the subzero temperatures this weekend, officials warned of scattered slick spots likely forming on ramps, overpasses, bridges and shaded areas overnight.
“The team at IDOT will be monitoring the roads, treating them as necessary, and assisting motorists as needed,” Acting Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Omer Osman said. “Please make sure to have the necessary supplies and equipment in your vehicle should you encounter problems, and do not leave your vehicle in the event of a breakdown. Call for help and wait for assistance to arrive.”
Drivers should share the roadways, officials advised, as Illinois law requires drivers to change lanes when approaching police, first responders and broken-down vehicles.
In addition, a release said drivers should slow down when approaching snow plows and maintenance vehicles, giving workers more room to operate.
All vehicles should have an emergency kit equipped with blankets, non-perishable food, boots, extra clothing and other items in case an individual is stranded, Illinois Emergency Management Agency Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau said.
On Thursday, more than 200 flights were canceled in Chicago as the snowstorm moved into the area.
As of 3 p.m., O'Hare Airport reported 179 flight cancellations while Midway Airport had 95 canceled flights.
A winter weather advisory took effect across the Chicago area beginning at 11 a.m.
The advisory continues through noon Friday for McHenry, Lake, DeKalb, Kane, Kankakee, DuPage, Cook, LaSalle, Kendall, Grundy and Will counties in Illinois, as well as Lake, Newton, Jasper and Porter counties in Indiana.
Under the weather advisory, McHenry, Lake, DeKalb, Kane, DuPage and northern and central Cook counties are all expected to see between 2 and 5 inches of accumulation.
Kankakee County in Illinois and Newton and Jasper Counties in northwest Indiana are projected to see between 3 and 5 inches, with higher amounts possible.
La Salle, Kendall, Grundy, southern Cook and Will counties in Illinois, as well as Lake and Porter counties in Indiana are forecast to see between 2 and 4 inches of accumulation, with isolated higher totals.