The City of Rockford is no longer under a snow emergency. The odd/even parking ordinance has been lifted.
Rockford road crews should be finished salting arterial and residential routes by 3:30 p.m. Friday.
In Jo Daviess County, U.S. Route 20 from Logemann Road eastbound to the county line is closed. The sheriff's office says snow drifts and stranded vehicles are slowing the progress of plows and travel on most county roads Friday is hazardous at best.
ComEd also reports, 9,000 customers in northern Illinois are without power as of Friday morning. They have restored power to 99,000 customers affected by the winter storm.
Other Snow Emergency/Ordinances in Effect:
Click here for a look at other area Winter Storm Parking Rules.
During the storm, we ask that you share your pictures of the snowy weather conditions with us by e-mailing them to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will post those pictures online and show some of them during our coverage of the storm.
For the very latest weather conditions stay with the 13 Weather Authority page at WREX.com, the 13 Weather Blog, sign up for text alerts, or download our new 13 ExacTrack HD Weather App on your smartphone or tablet device.
13 Weather Authority Forecast - UPDATED AT 4:35 A.M. FRIDAY
Total snowfall accumulations from yesterday's system have remained consistent with previous forecast numbers. Areas to the north and west will surpass 12" from Madison, southwest to Dubuque and Cedar Rapids. Freeport and Janesville should expect 6-12" with 4-8" likely for the Rockford Metro. 3-5" is forecast for DeKalb, Rochelle, and Dixon.
Today the wind and frigid wind chills will be the main focus. Highs will only push into the low 20 and it will feel like temps are in the single digits throughout the entire day. Tomorrow the wind begins to die down and a return to near cloudless skies will set in by the afternoon.
THURSDAY UPDATES BELOW:
The proof of our area's first major winter storm is on the roads. Around 11 a.m. Thursday, U.S. 20 closed down between Highway 73 and the town of Elizabeth, Illinois. That's nearly a 25 mile stretch. The Stephenson County Sheriff's Department says some drivers have been stranded since 11 a.m. They, along with Jo Daviess County Sheriff's Department, and state troopers, are trying to rescue travelers stuck on that stretch of road. Officers' main concerns are getting passengers out of their cars and into warming areas, like the Lena Fire Department building.
There's also trouble in Winnebago County. Thursday evening, Winnebago County Sheriff's Police were called to Winnebago Road and Trask Bridge Road for a car accident. We'll bring you more information on this as it becomes available to us.
IDOT and Illinois Tollway Keep Drivers Informed
In addition to working to keep roads free of snow and ice, the Illinois Tollway is also helping to provide drivers with additional information to help them reach their destinations safely during winter weather events.
For information about non-toll roads in the Chicago area and throughout Illinois, motorists can visit www.gettingaroundillinois.com before traveling to get a full report on current road conditions by route.
On Illinois tollways, the Illinois Tollway's Traffic and Incident Management System (TIMS) provides real-time travel times and roadway conditions via the Illinois Tollway's website, www.illinoistollway.com, and on over-the-road electronic message signs throughout the Tollway.
Drivers can call *999 from their cell phone to request assistance or report stranded vehicles. Drivers should note the roadway and direction of travel and nearest milepost or crossroad. The *999 service is funded by the Illinois Tollway and the Illinois Department of Transportation.
In addition, the Tollway operates a toll-free telephone line to keep customers up to date about weather conditions on its roadways. Customers can call 1-800-TOLL-FYI (1-800-865-5394) to get recorded information that is updated every two hours or as conditions require during winter storms.
Drivers also can sign up for Tollway Tweets at www.twitter.com or from the Tollway's website at www.illinoistollway.com to receive real-time information about roadway incidents, including the type of incident, location and impact on traffic to assist drivers in planning their trips. Tweeters can follow all four Tollway Trips or just the roadways that interest them. The four are Tollway Trip 90, Tollway Trip 94/294, Tollway Trip 88 and Tollway Trip 355.
The Illinois Tollway also reminds customers that the seven Oases located along the Tollway system also serve as statewide warming centers. On the Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80), there are four Oases: Lake Forest, O'Hare, Hinsdale and Chicago Southland Lincoln in South Holland. There are two Oases on the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) in Belvidere and Des Plaines, and one on the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88) in DeKalb.
Winter Weather Travel Tips
While the Illinois Tollway is doing its part to keep the roads clear and traffic moving, drivers need to do their part, as well. The Tollway offers the following winter driving 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 windows BEFORE you start driving assures maximum vision of your surroundings and assists in reducing ice and snow buildup as you drive.
• Stay alert to avoid distracted driving.
Illinois' distracted driving law prohibits drivers from using electronic devices to text, email or access Internet sites while driving a vehicle at any time. Drivers should avoid any distractions that will take their eyes off of the road during inclement weather.
• Reduce speed in cash lanes at toll plazas.
Drivers paying cash at toll plazas 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.
• Adjust speed to road conditions and traffic around you.
Reducing speed during inclement weather conditions increases your ability to respond to the unexpected.
• 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 approximately 30 miles per hour, so traffic delays should be expected. During periods of extremely heavy snow, Illinois Tollway snowplow trucks 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. IDOT's Emergency Traffic Patrol Minutemen patrol Chicago area expressways. Stay in your vehicle – it's the safest place to be if you are stranded.
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