Illinois Governor Pat Quinn declared a state of emergency in Illinois on Tuesday, following a massive storm that began dumping snow, ice and rain over most of the state. According to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, Quinn also called up more than 500 National Guard troops to assist motorists on major interstates within Illinois. The National Guard troops were set to be stationed at rest areas along I-70 and interstates north of I-70 to help motorists who might be stranded or having difficulties due to the storm.
The Guard units that were activated will assist the Illinois State Police with emergency efforts during this storm. The units that were deployed to the northern part of Illinois were the 2/106th Cavalry Squadron out of Kewanee and subordinate units from Galva, Dixon and Pontiac. Deployed to central Illinois were the 766th Engineer Company out of Decatur, the 1844th Transportation Company out of Quincy and the 3637th Maintenance Company out of Springfield. National Guard units deployed to the southern part of the state were the 634th Brigade Support Battalion out of Sullivan and the 233rd Military Police Company out of Springfield.
Snow forecasts from this storm for the areas of central and northern Illinois were between 12 and 24 inches of snow while farther south, ice accumulation was expected to reach an inch or more. High, gusty winds are expected to wreak more havoc on the state as the storm continues.
The National Weather Service has warned that Chicago's Lake Michigan could see waves as high as 25 feetdue to the expected high winds. These waves could bring even more misery with potential flood and freezing spray along Lake Shore Drive. This storm has the potential to go down in the record books as Chicago's third largest snow storm--trailing behind a 23-inch snowfall in 1967 and 21.6 inches in 1999.
Current radar maps from The Weather Channel show almost all of Illinois receiving precipitation--snow in the northern and parts of central Illinois, ice in south central Illinois and parts of southern Illinois and rain in most of southern Illinois. In southern Illinois, the temperatures are expected to drop on Tuesday night bringing snow along with high winds and making very wet roads dangerous due to freezing temperatures.
The National Weather Service has activated several weather alerts for almost every county in Illinois-- from severe thunderstorm warnings, flood alerts, blizzard warnings, winter storm warnings and wind advisories for most counties in southern Illinois. The wind advisory states that winds could be 20 to 30 miles per hour with gusts of 40 miles per hour.