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Article updated: 1/27/2014 5:59 AM

Whiteout conditons making travel dangerous

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By Daily Herald staff

With reports of white out conditions, large drifts and black ice coming in, law enforcement officials are urging people to stay off the roads, which are becoming increasingly dangerous.

An arctic front has just gone through the suburbs, bringing with it some snow that will soon cease and cold temperatures that will continue to drop into Monday.

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"That front is clearing the area now," said AccuWeather senior meteorologist Steve Wistar, adding, however, that it is opening the "floodgates" to ridiculously cold weather. "The failing snow is ending, but the blowing snow continues."

Tonight, 1 to 2 inches of snow is expected and temperatures are likely to drop to 7 degrees below zero. The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for all suburban counties, effective until 6 a.m. Monday due to the snow and wind.

Temperatures will stay in the minus 5 to minus 10 degree range during the morning commute on Monday, Wistar said, adding that later in the day it is expected that they will drop lower than they did on Jan. 6.

"This actually may be colder than that by a few degrees," Wistar said, referring to the -16 degrees that was recorded three weeks ago.

With wind gusts expected to range from 12 to 25 mph on Monday, the wind chill will be 20 to 25 below zero, Wistar added. A wind chill warning will be in effect from 3 a.m. Monday to 9 a.m. Wednesday.

A news release issued Sunday evening by the Kane County Sheriff's Office warns residents to only travel if it is an emergency. According to the news release, roads in western Kane County are already experiencing significant blowing and drifting of snow, creating white out conditions.

Deputies in western McHenry County are receiving reports of traffic crashes and cars getting stuck and sliding into ditches. There are also reports of zero visibility while driving in more rural areas, according to a news release issued by the McHenry County Sheriff's Office.

Illinois State Police said in a news release that the combination of snow and winds will decrease visibility on roads to less than one half of a mile. Police are encouraging drivers to put extra water, food, and warm clothing in their vehicle.

Officials are also reminding people who must travel by car to plan ahead, stay on main roads and charge their cellphones before they leave. People are also being cautioned that it may take a significant amount of time for help to arrive if they become stranded on the road.

O'Hare International Airport reported 265 flights canceled as of 8:30 p.m. At Midway International Airport, there were some delays of up to two hours and more than 130 flights canceled.

Metra has already issued a notice to customers warning that trains are likely to be delayed Monday. Trains will also be operating at reduced speeds, if necessary, to reduce the stress on the rails.

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