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Winter Storm Expected to Dump Snow, Followed by Frigid Temps

Be prepared: The National Weather Service is predicting snow, plunging temperatures and strong winds over the next few days.

Soupy Saturday is expected to turn into Snowy Sunday, with rain turning to sleet and snow overnight, according to the National Weather Service. A significant winter storm is expected to move into the Chicago area Saturday night into Monday.

The storm was dumping snow across the Great Plains and is expected to change from rain and sleet into snow by Sunday morning, according to the weather service. The northern suburbs are expected to get more snow, but between 2 to 5 inches of snow are possible in the area. Temperatures are expected to drop and winds could increase significantly, with gusts in excess of 45 mph.

Anyone planning to spend significant amounts of time outdoors Sunday should be prepared to dress for temperatures that are expected to be in the teens with wind chills below zero, according to the National Weather Service.

The strong winds also may lead to blowing and drifting snow and falling tree limbs and power lines.

The snowy weather also may make driving more hazardous. Here are some tips from AAA for driving in snow:

  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Don't try to get moving in a hurry. And take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
  • Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, turning—nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement. Give yourself time to maneuver by driving slowly.
  • The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to 10 seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.
  • Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, the best way to stop is by using threshold breaking. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
  • Don't stop if you can avoid it. There's a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
  • Don't power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed down hill as slowly as possible.
  • Don't stop while going up a hill. There's nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.
  • Stay home. If you really don't have to go out, don't. Even if you can drive well in the snow, not everyone else can. Don't tempt fate: If you don't have somewhere you have to be, watch the snow from indoors.

For information on winter road conditions, check with the Illinois Department of Transportation.

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