‘Life-Threatening’ Travel Conditions Possible in Chicago Area This Week During Winter Storm – NBC Chicago
A dangerous combination of heavy snow, fierce winds and bone-chilling cold will combine to create potentially “life-threatening” travel conditions later this week in the Chicago area, with motorists urged to postpone unnecessary travel if possible during the height of the storm.
According to the National Weather Service, the Chicago area will face “significant” risks of heavy snow and blowing snow on both Thursday and Friday, with an elevated “non-thunderstorm wind risk” on both days.
There is also the chance of some ice accumulation due to the rapid drops in temperatures, and all three of those events will cause rapidly deteriorating road conditions, especially late Thursday and into Friday.
In a hazardous weather alert issued Tuesday afternoon, NWS officials said that conditions “may become life-threatening for anyone who becomes stranded” during the storm, and described travel conditions as “dangerous” from Thursday night through Friday night.
That comes amid one of the busiest travel times of the year, with the Illinois Tollway estimating that 1.7 million vehicles are expected to use the tollway system on both Wednesday and Thursday.
More than a million vehicles are anticipated each day from Friday through Monday, but changes to the forecast could potentially lead some to travel earlier to get out ahead of the arriving storm.
The Illinois Department of Transportation is urging motorists to check their website for the latest travel conditions, and will operate a fleet of snow trucks and salt spreaders to help cope with the inclement weather.
Finally, the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communication is urging city residents to “stay inside as much as possible” during the height of the storm on Thursday and Friday.
Even after the snow stops falling late Friday and into Saturday, conditions could remain hazardous on area roadways because of the strong winds, which will cause continued blowing and drifting of snow, especially in open areas.
Frigid cold will also remain a threat, with wind chills potentially falling to more than 20 degrees below zero in some locations.
Sunday will still see frigid conditions, but winds should begin to ease, making travel less hazardous.