CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today announced coordinated measures being taken by Illinois state agencies to prepare for heavy snowfall this evening that can create treacherous driving conditions in areas throughout the state. Today’s announcement is part of Governor Quinn’s commitment to keeping all Illinois residents safe this winter.
“In anticipation of another winter storm, state of Illinois personnel and emergency crews are ready and working around the clock to help keep people safe in these dangerous conditions,” Governor Quinn said. “I urge everyone to use caution and stay alert while we battle what will hopefully be one of the last winter storms.”
National Weather Service forecasters predict the arrival of spots of heavy snowfall accompanied by strong winds, creating potential for whiteout conditions and debris on roadways. The heavy snowfall is expected to begin this evening and continue until tomorrow afternoon. Motorists should use extreme caution as the expected blowing and drifting snow could cause near blizzard conditions at times and also cause slick and treacherous roads.
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Illinois Tollway will have their crews working around the clock to keep roads clear and passable. IDOT is readying its fleet of 1,750 snowplows and 3,700 employees ahead of the next winter storm to remove snow and ice. The Tollway will have its full fleet of 182 snowplows available to clear roads.
The Illinois State Police (ISP) statewide will be monitoring road conditions and are advising motorists to use caution when driving. Depending on the weather conditions, motorists can expect ramp closures and re-routes. ISP will be working closely with IDOT and other agency partners to provide assistance to stranded motorists and updated information on any hazardous driving conditions. Motorists should expect delays and lengthy commutes.
The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) will continue to monitor the winter weather conditions throughout Illinois and stands ready to activate emergency state resources if necessary. IEMA also advises every household to have a disaster preparedness kit that will help residents stay safe for at least three days. The kits should include a battery-powered NOAA weather radio, a flashlight, extra batteries, non-perishable food, water, a first-aid kit, extra medications and special items needed for babies, disabled or elderly family members and pets.
Drivers are reminded to exercise caution when snow or ice affect roadways, and IDOT advises travel only when absolutely necessary during storms or when temperatures are extremely low. Due to current weather conditions, IDOT encourages motorists who must travel to check the latest winter road conditions and road closures at gettingaroundillinois.com.
During severely cold weather, the Illinois Department of Human Services advises that Illinois residents limit exposure to cold temperatures, dress in layers, check in on others who may need additional assistance, keep vehicles in good repair and bring pets indoors. For a list of warming centers in Illinois, visit KeepWarm.Illinois.gov.
Safety tips to remember:
- Allow extra time for travel during the winter weather.
- Don’t crowd the plow – a snow plow operator’s field of vision is restricted. You may see them, but they may not see you.
- Be aware that black ice can form on roads that appear clear and the unseen ice can be treacherous. Take it slow when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges and shady areas – all are prone to black ice, which is often invisible.
- Always keep your gas tank at least two-thirds full to help prevent the vehicle’s fuel line from freezing.
- Do not travel during bad weather unless absolutely necessary – if you do have to make a trip, check the forecast and make sure someone is aware of your travel route and schedule.
- Always carry an emergency car care kit that contains jumper cables, flares or reflectors, windshield washer fluid, a small ice scraper, traction material, blankets, non-perishable food and a first aid kit.
- Carry a few extra blankets in your car, and perhaps an extra coat to ensure protection in case of a breakdown.
- Carry a cell phone and dial *999 for roadway assistance in case of emergency (but remember using handheld phones while driving is illegal if it is not an emergency situation).
- Always wear a seat belt, front seat or back – it’s the law.
- Check travel and road conditions routinely before any trip. You can get road condition information by calling 1-800-452-IDOT (4368), Illinois Tollway information by calling 1-800-TOLL-FYI or online at gettingaroundillinois.com and click on the “winter road conditions” icon.