Wintry mix to convert to snow and produce icing, slippery driving conditions

information provided by the Illinois Department of Transportation

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (February 16, 2022) – The Illinois Department of Transportation is advising the public that a major storm with heavy rains, flooding, and double-digit snowfalls will create slick conditions, impacting travel across much of the state starting Wednesday night through Thursday. The mixture of precipitation and rapidly changing weather likely will produce the potential for sudden icing on roads, with high winds leading to blowing snow and reduced visibility.

“The Illinois Department of Transportation’s snow-and-ice teams will be prepared and out in force, but the public needs to be ready for conditions to change quickly and worsen if they are out on the roads,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “The safest option is to postpone any unnecessary trips and stay home. If you must travel, prepare for very slow and potentially hazardous conditions. And please slow down around our plows and other emergency vehicles, giving them plenty of room to do their jobs.”

Starting with thunderstorms

The National Weather Service is predicting a wintry mix of precipitation to start with thunderstorms and heavy rain in much of the state this evening, converting to freezing rain overnight before turning to snow Thursday morning. In addition to localized flooding, ice and sleet accumulations are likely, creating extremely slippery surfaces and slick conditions.

Turning to accumulating snow

Much of the state will see accumulating snow throughout the day Thursday, with the highest totals in the central and north regions. Up to 10 inches is predicted from Quincy northwest to Pontiac, Bloomington-Normal, and Kankakee, with parts of the Chicago area receiving close to 7 inches. Winds in excess of 40 mph will make driving difficult, especially for high-profile vehicles on east-west roads, while causing snow to blow and drift.

Limited pretreating

Due to the rainy conditions ahead of temperatures falling overnight, the effectiveness of pretreating and salting surfaces in advance of significant snowfall will be limited. The public should anticipate icy conditions even when roads appear clear and greatly reduce speeds.

Statewide, IDOT has available more than 1,800 trucks and equipment to plow, treat roads and respond to weather emergencies. If you encounter a plow or any maintenance vehicle during your travels, please slow down, increase your following distance, and remain patient. Do not attempt to pass – conditions in front of the plow will be worse than behind it.

Safety reminders

If travel during Thursday’s extreme weather is necessary:

  • Keep a cell phone, warm clothes, blankets, food, water, a first-aid kit, washer fluid, and an ice scraper in your vehicle.
  • Make sure someone is aware of your route and schedule.
  • Make sure your gas tank is full.
  • Always wear a seat belt, whether you’re sitting in the front seat or back seat. It’s the law.
  • Turn around, don’t drown! Do not attempt to drive through flooded roads. Do not drive around barricades. Delay travel until conditions improve.
  • Drastically reduce speeds and take it slow, especially when approaching intersections, ramps, bridges and shaded areas that are prone to icing.
  • Dial *999 in the Chicago area for assistance in case of emergency. (Reminder: Using handheld phones while driving is illegal in Illinois, unless it is an emergency.)
  • If you are involved in a crash or break down, remain inside your vehicle, which is your safest form of shelter. Exiting your vehicle into live traffic can have fatal consequences.

Visit www.gettingaroundillinois.com for regular updates on road conditions statewide.

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