Illinois Weather

Travel issues expected in western suburbs as blowing dust moves into Chicago area ahead of potentially severe weather

A dust storm blows across a farm field in central Illinois, partially obscuring a wind mill.

A "significant weather alert" is in effect for several Chicago-area counties, bringing extremely hazardous travel conditions ahead of potentially severe weather in the region.

Blowing dust can spark travel issues across many western suburbs, with winds of up to 45 miles per hour presenting problems, especially near fields that were recently plowed.

The alert is currently in effect for McHenry, Kane, DeKalb, LaSalle, Grundy and Kendall counties, with blowing dust causing significant issues downstate.

According to the McLean County Sheriff’s Office, Interstate 55 is closed near McLean, with traffic rerouted at Route 136 and allowed back onto the highway at Shirley Road. Southbound traffic is also being rerouted from Shirley Road and allowed back on the highway at U.S. 51.

Interstate 74 is also closed in both directions near exit 152, according to officials.

Near-zero visibility is being reported in some parts of those interstates, with dust blowing from farm fields and blocking lines of sight on roadways.

The high winds are also causing hazardous travel for high-profile vehicles along north-south roadways in the area, according to officials.

Drivers caught by the storms are being asked to pull off road as much as possible, and to stop and turn off all lights and to set their emergency brakes.

Drivers are also asked not to get out of their vehicles, to keep their seatbelts on and to be sure not to have their foot on the brake pedal so as not to illuminate their taillights, which can cause other drivers to think they are following the flow of traffic.

Even after the advisory ends, a chance of severe weather could also impact central Illinois, with gusty winds, hail and even a threat of tornadoes on Tuesday night.

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