Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a disaster proclamation Tuesday for all Illinois counties after a "dangerous" winter storm swept through the region, leaving many without power.
The storm, which brought extreme wind chills, power outages and accumulating snow, left approximately 7,000 Illinois households without power as of Tuesday morning, according to state officials.
“I have directed my administration to use all resources at our disposal to keep our communities safe amid dangerous and ongoing winter weather,” Pritzker said. “We are in communication with local governments to ensure they have the support they need in disaster response and recovery operations. We are also working with our federal partners to pursue federal assistance to help communities recover and to do what we can to protect ratepayers from soaring utility bills."
The Illinois governor urged residents to avoid all unnecessary travel as the effects of the storm persist and to check in with neighbors.
Pritzker warned that increased prices for utility companies across the nation would result in higher utility bills for Illinois households over coming weeks.
"Extreme weather has resulted in frozen wells in key natural gas producing states, including Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas," a release said. "The sub-zero temperatures are resulting in increased demand and decreased supply, causing natural gas prices to spike."
Parts of the Chicago area saw well over a foot of snow Monday night into Tuesday, with some snowfall totals reaching as high as 18 inches, as the latest round of winter weather blanketed the region.
Chicago's Midway Airport saw 17.7 inches of snow from Monday to Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service, while O'Hare Airport saw 7.5 inches.
The city and areas closest to the lake have seen the highest snowfall, as the storm system combined with lake effect snow to deliver a one-two punch.
As of Tuesday morning, north suburban Evanston saw the highest snow total of the area as reported to the NWS, clocking in at 18 inches.
Chicago's Lincoln Square neighborhood saw 17 inches, while Douglas got 16.9 inches, Albany Park saw 16 inches and Lake View got 14.5 inches. Other areas that saw more than a foot of snow so far include suburban Forest Park, which got 13 inches, Harwood Heights with 15 inches, as well as Oak Lawn and Thornton, which both saw 14.5 inches, per the NWS.
Northwest Indiana also got walloped with lake effect snow and the blast of winter weather, leaving 16 inches in Valparaiso and 11.3 inches in Crown Point.
According to the NWS, several more inches of snow are possible before the storm moves out of the area, with the highest totals expected within five to 10 miles of Lake Michigan.
More snow combined with blustery winds will make for continued low visibility on roadways through the morning on Tuesday, with forecasters warning residents to use extreme caution if travel is necessary.