Road crews throughout the area are preparing for a storm that's expected to bring a mix of winter weather that could make driving a challenge Thursday night into Friday morning.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory that goes into effect for the Chicago area at 9 p.m. Thursday and lasts until 6 p.m. Friday, with the possibility of 3 to 5 inches of snow across the area and a change to — and possible mix with — light freezing drizzle Friday morning.
As of about 2 p.m. Thursday, the weather service forecast called for between 2 to 4 inches of snow in an area stretching from the Illinois-Wisconsin border including Rockford and Joliet, to Valparaiso, Ind. to the east. Between 4 to 6 inches of snow are expected to the southwest and west of this area.
Outside the immediate Chicago metropolitan area, there could be a period of heavy snow with fall rates of an inch per hour possible late Thursday evening into the overnight hours with possible wind gusts of 25-30 mph that may cause blowing snow and reduced visibility, the weather service warns.
But Thursday morning, National Weather Service meteorologist Jayson Gosselin said precipitation is generally expected to drop off as the storm pushes east with Chicago and parts of Indiana getting only about 2 inches of snow and some sleet.
By Friday afternoon, the precipitation was expected to be light snow and light rain, with no additional accumulation likely, the weather service said.
The Illinois Department of Transportation will have crews working to keep the roads clear until the storm passes. The Illinois Tollway is also preparing to mobilize its full fleet of 182 snowplows for this snow event.
The Tollway's Snow Operations Center will be open Thursday night to manage the systemwide response. To help with snow removal, the Tollway has cancelled all temporary lane closures from 7 p.m. Thursday until 10 p.m. Friday.
IDOT and the Tollway ask that motorists drive late Thursday only if necessary and give road crews room to work when they are on the roads.
No snow was expected this weekend, and temperatures Saturday and Sunday are forecast in the low to mid-30s.
© Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC