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Up to 8 Inches of Snow Expected Friday, Winter Storm Warning Issued

The snowfall started mid-morning and got worse from there.

Editor's note: This story was updated early Friday morning to include the upgraded severe weather conditions and Winter Storm Warning.

Another day of bad weather is upon us.

The National Weather Service-Chicago has issued a Winter Storm Warning for Kane County and the larger Chicago area.

The Storm Warning will be in effect starting at 9 a.m. today, Fri.. Jan. 20 and go until midnight Friday night/Saturday morning.

Expect snowfall totals between 5 to 8 inches. It will start snowing by mid- to late-morning Friday and will continue through most of the day  into the night.

The heaviest snow is expected during Friday afternoon. Snowfall rates of about one inch per hour will occur in some areas.

Temperatures in the teens will also make salt less effective, and harder for road crews to clear snow and ice. Expect "significant disruptions to air travel ... with delays and cancellations likely at O'Hare and Midway."

Friday Daytime/Afternoon Forecast (Kane County)

Frigid temps with widespread snowfall, heavy at times in the afternoon. Snow will accumulate between 5 to 7 inches. High temps will be between 17 and 21 degrees.

Wind chills will be zero to 10 below zero. The chance of precipitation is 100 percent, according to the National Weather Service.

Friday Evening Forecast (Kane County)

More snow likely in the evening, up to 1 inch. Total accumulation will be between 6 to 8 inches. Temps will reach a low between 10 and 14 degrees. Chance of precipitation is 70 percent.

Tollway Is Storm Ready

The Illinois Tollway says it has its full fleet of snowplows ready and will activate its Snow Operations Center.

The Tollway has 183 snowplows to cover the 286-mile system of roads in 12 Northern Illinois counties.

"The Illinois Tollway is ready to put our snow removal plans into action as soon as the snow hits the pavement," said Kristi Lafleur, Illinois Tollway executive director.

The Illinois Tollway's Snow Operations Center will open in the early hours on Friday morning, and the tollway will have a full complement of more than 200 staff and supervisors per shift to ensure that roadways are kept clear of snow and ice.

To help with snow removal efforts, the Tollway has cancelled all temporary lane closures from 7 a.m. on Friday to 7 a.m. on Saturday.

Driving Travel Tips

For this weather event, the tollway is offering the following travel tips:

  • Clear snow and ice from all windows, mirrors and lights on your vehicle before you drive. Blowing snow can significantly diminish visibility.  Clearing all snow before you begin driving assures maximum vision of your surroundings and assists in reducing ice and snow buildup as you drive.
  • Adjust speed to road conditions and traffic around you. Reducing speed during inclement weather conditions increases your ability to respond to the unexpected.
  • Reduce speed on ramps and in cash lanes at toll plazas. Drivers paying cash at toll plazas or traveling on ramps should adjust their speed on approach during snow and ice storms. Watch for lane designations on approach to the toll plaza; switching lanes close to the toll plaza is unsafe, especially during winter weather.
  • Increase the interval between your vehicle and the one in front of you. By creating more distance between your vehicle and others, you decrease your chances of a collision because stopping distances increase as pavement conditions deteriorate.
  • Avoid unnecessary lane changes. During heavy snowstorms, slush and packed snow build up in the area between traffic lanes.  Abrupt or frequent lane changes may cause your vehicle to slide on the buildup and spin out of control.
  • Keep away from snowplows. Should you encounter snowplows, the safest choice is to keep back and let them do their job. They travel at a speed of about 30 mph, so traffic delays should be expected. During periods of extremely heavy snow, Illinois Tollway snowplows will work in tandem to remove as much ice, slush and snow as possible from all lanes at once.
  • Do not use the shoulder of the road to pass a snowplow. Some snowplows are equipped with wing plows that extend to the left or right of the vehicle. While these wings allow for more efficient removal of snow, they are nearly invisible to passing motorists due to blowing snow. De-icing materials spread from the rear of the truck may also be a distraction to motorists attempting to pass.
  • Call *999 for roadway assistance. Should you encounter car trouble and require roadway assistance, try to move your car to a safe position on the shoulder or in an untraveled area. Report stranded vehicles by dialing *999 from a cellular phone.
  • Stay in your vehicle, H.E.L.P. is on the way. During continued periods of extremely cold weather, the Illinois Tollway operates a "Zero Patrol" to supplement the Illinois State Police District 15 and the Tollway's Highway Emergency Lane Patrol (H.E.L.P.) vehicles. These patrols enable us to cover the entire 286-mile Tollway system 24 hours per day when temperatures and wind chills are at or below zero.  Stay in your vehicle—it's the safest place to be if you are stranded.

This forecast is courtesy of the National Weather Service. The travel information is courtesy of the Illinois Tollway.

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