A winter weather advisory has been issued for Will County starting at midnight, which is when the white stuff is to start falling, and ending at 10 a.m. Wednesday. Should make for a lovely morning rush-hour commute.
The most intense part of the storm will be between 4 and 8 a.m. for north central Illinois and the Chicago suburbs, according to the most recent forecast.
Also, "very cold temperatures will make regular non-treated road salt less effective," the weather service said.
Tonight's low will be 11 degrees, relatively balmy compared to the 5-below low expected Wednesday night. The good news is we'll have to endure just one more night in the teens before things start to get closer to the freezing point during the day on Friday and Saturday.
Health dept.: Avoid frostbite, hypothermia
The Will County Health Department reminds area residents that illnesses brought on by exposure to winter winds and cold can be fatal if treatment is lacking. Common sense is a must when frigid temperatures and dangerous wind chills are a reality.
Hypothermia, the term generally used to describe illnesses brought on by winter weather exposure, typically occurs when the body temperature drops below 95 °F. Seniors and the very young are most susceptible, but anyone is a potential victim.
Most people associate hypothermia with exposure to severe weather conditions outdoors, but even sustained indoor temperatures below 60 °F can be dangerous over time. Once again, persons with compromised immunity, or other significant health concerns face the most serious risks.
Persons with chronic circulatory illnesses, diabetes, and other debilitating conditions should consider avoiding trips outdoors when the temperatures dip below 0 and wind chills make the temperatures even more dangerous on exposed skin. If you must venture outdoors in wind chills that are below 0, be alert for hypothermia symptoms and be prepared to act quickly.
Hypothermia symptoms include: intense shivering, drowsiness, slurred speech, hallucinations and shallow breathing. Consult a physician immediately, or call an ambulance if you recognize these symptoms in others.
Be cognizant of the potential risks posed by wind chill. For example, an air temperature of 20 °F feels like -10 °F on exposed skin if the wind is blowing at 20 miles per hour. Frostbite is a genuine winter concern.
Frostbitten skin is whitish, stiff and numb, but not necessarily painful. Hats, scarves, masks and mittens are especially important because frostbite most often impacts the nose, ears, fingers and exposed portions of the face.
Remember that layers of clothing do a better job of trapping heat than wearing just one bulky garment. Mittens are better than gloves. Do not rub frostbitten skin because further friction may increase damage and slow recovery.
Treat frostbitten skin with warm water for 20 to 40 minutes and seek medical attention immediately. Remember that exposure to frigid temperatures can be deadly.
For more information about winter weather exposure, visit www.idph.state.il.us/public/hb/hbwinter.htm.