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Authorities urge minimal travel during winter storm

Published: Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014 9:53 a.m. CDT • Updated: Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014 9:55 a.m. CDT

MORRIS — Those heading out today are asked to use caution as a winter storm is predicted to drop as much as 5 inches of snow in the region.

The National Weather Service is predicting anywhere from 3 to 5 inches of snow could fall in the Morris area on Saturday, with winds up to 15 mph at times.

The area remains under a winter storm watch until 6 p.m. The snow was expected to increase in intensity through late morning — with up to 2 inches an hour falling in the morning — with snow ending by early evening. Some sleet and freezing rain may mix with the snow south of a line from Streator to Joliet to Gary. There could be some ice accumulation as well, according to the watch.

Snow-covered roads and low visibility will make travel hazardous through the early evening, according to the National Weather Service.

The Illinois Department of Transportation reported that as of 9 a.m., the weather had resulted in Interstate 55 from Pontiac to I-355 was 100 percent snow or ice covered. Interstate 80 from LaSalle to Joliet also was reported to be 100 percent snow or ice covered, while the stretch from Joliet to I-294 was reported to be 50 percent snow or ice covered.

The Illinois State Police District 5 — which covers Grundy, Kendall and Will counties — is asking motorists to take precautions if they travel, and is advising against any unnecessary travel.

"We are reminding motorists to take extra caution while on the roadways today and throughout the evening hours.  With the current snow fall and blowing winds, we can expect whiteout conditions and deteriorating road conditions which may disrupt travel," ISP said in a news release. "Motorists are encouraged to allow for extra travel time in order to reach their destination safely."

ISP is recommending those who do venture out bring a charged cellphone, car charger, food, water, warm clothing, and blankets in case they become stranded, as well as drive at a safe speed and wear a seatbelt.

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