Snow began moving in from the southwest Monday afternoon and will pick up in intensity throughout the overnight hours, ABC7 meteorologist Larry Mowry said.
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The heaviest snow will likely be between 7 p.m. and midnight, where snowfall rates could approach an inch per hour. Most areas can expect between 2 and 5 inches of snow by 7 a.m. Tuesday.
An additional 2 to 4 inches of snow is likely from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday. Lingering lake effect snow showers could persist after 3 p.m.
The heaviest snow is expected in Lake and Cook counties, just inland from Lake Michigan.
The snow will be wet and heavy, so it may be a good idea to shovel a couple times during the storm as snow accumulates.
Heavy snow could linger into the early Tuesday commute as well, though the intensity will taper off through the morning. However, winds could intensify and create visibility issues with any falling snow.
A Winter Storm Warning is in effect until noon Tuesday for DeKalb, Grundy, Kane, Kendall and LaSalle counties and until 5 p.m. Tuesday for Cook, DuPage, Lake and Will counties.
A Lakeshore Flood Advisory is in effect along the Lake Michigan shoreline through noon on Tuesday. There is a small chance for some ice and freezing rain in those areas during the storm.
City snow plows, salt spreaders ready to tackle arterial streets
Chicago's Department of Streets and Sanitation readied their fleet of salt spreaders earlier Monday as they geared up to tackle more than 9,400 lane miles of roadway with salt piles stationed throughout the city. Several spreaders and plow trucks have already been deployed.
"Monitor your driving conditions. I think we've all become customary with not having as many vehicles on the road," said Rich Guidice, executive director of Chicago's Office of Emergency Management and Communications. "We may have picked up some bad driving behaviors over the last year, year and a half and we want to make sure people are cognizant to leaving enough distance to the car in front of you, make sure your gas tank is full."
The possibility of lake effect snow overnight has OEMC concerned.
"The lake effect situation is something we keep an eye on because you can never really predict on what's going to happen exactly because that lake effect is so can be problematic for us," Guidice said.
With its thousands of cameras fixed on major roadways, OEMC said will pay specific attention to Lake Shore Drive in the overnight hours.
"We have 240 miles of city to keep an eye on, but Lakeshore Drive is something we will pay close attention to obviously because of its close proximity to the lake," Guidice said.
Local non-profit My Block My Hood My City is calling up volunteers to help the shovel snow for the elderly in their neighborhoods.
"The city is about to be overwhelmed by Mother Nature, so we want to step in and help," said Jahmal Cole, executive director of My Block My Hood My City.
The group planning to meet at 64th and Vernon in the city's West Woodlawn neighborhood at 12 p.m. Tuesday.
"We know seniors are, you know, some of them have neuropathy in their wrist, they have oxygen, saying they can't get out there and shovel by themselves," Cole said. "So our philosophy is: what's something simple you can do that'll make a positive impact on your block."
My Block My Hood My City plans to provide supplies for anyone who wants to volunteer. Given the amount snow expected, it will take a community effort.
Snow piles up in western suburbs
In the west suburbs, downtown Aurora was already covered in a fresh blanket of snow by 8 p.m. Joliet's public works department said it was digging into its salt pile for the first time this season.
And Dan Crowder, who goes by The Mobile Engine Doctor, said his phone was ringing off the hook. The former Sears technician said he's making a nice living doing house calls to repair snow blowers.
"I was actually going to open a shop before the pandemic hit unfortunately...and I'm glad I didn't," Crowder said. "I decided to start off a little bit smaller with the truck first, and it has turned out to be very fruitful."
AAA is reminding people to show down on the roads and pack an emergency road kit, even if you're only headed out a short distance.
"What should be included in that kit includes your cell phone charger, jumper cable, extra food and water, extra clothes, mittens, hats, gloves and blanket," AAA spokesperson Molly Hart said. "We also recommend you put a bag of abrasive material, whether that is sand, salt or cat litter."
The Illinois Tollway will deploy its full fleet of 196 snow plows in anticipation of the snow storm, and warning that drivers should expect the snow to affect both their Monday evening and Tuesday morning commutes.
Tollway officials said drivers should slow down and plan to allow additional travel time for safety. Drivers who find they need help or whose vehicles become disabled should remain in their cars with hazard lights on and dial *999 from their cell phone.
Aurora Warming Center Opens
The City of Aurora is opening centrally-located warming centers as overnight temperatures are expected to fall into single digits again Friday night, according to officials.
The Aurora Transportation Center, located at 233 N. Broadway, will open at 6 p.m. Friday and will remain open throughout the overnight hours for those in need of warm shelter.
All guests must take a COVID-19 health screening, including temperature checks, wear masks and remain socially-distanced from other visitors. The facility will have accessible bathrooms, hand sanitizing stations, social-distancing signage, and vending machines. Staff and security guards will also be onsite at all times, officials said.
Aurora officials are also collaborating with the nearby Hesed House shelter, which doubles as a daytime warming center, to inform visitors of the additional overnight location.