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Residents are being urged to avoid the roadways this afternoon as heavy snowfall continues to blanket McHenry County, and for those who have to drive, leave plenty of extra time for the commute home.

Several accidents were being reported throughout the county, according to the McHenry County Sheriff's Office. That has forced municipalities, including Crystal Lake, Algonquin, Lakewood and Cary, among others, to begin following their emergency snow plans. "When you get snow like this, it is hard for anybody to keep up," said Ed Markison, assistant maintenance supervisor for the county's Division of Transportation. "We're doing the best we can."

A crew of 14 trucks were plowing county roads as of 2:15 p.m., and a second shift is scheduled to overlap starting at 3:30 p.m. Those workers will plow throughout the evening commute. The Illinois State Police has also initiated its emergency snow plan — if all cars involved in an accident on the expressways are driveable, exchange information and report crash later.

A winter weather advisory is in effect for most of the Chicago area until 9 p.m., according to the National Weather Service. Anywhere between 3 to 6 inches of snow could fall by late evening.

More than 4 inches of snow had fallen in Spring Grove as of 2:50 p.m.

Several school and park districts, as well as local churches and other organizations, have canceled all evening classes and programs.

Area dispatchers described the roadways as "hazardous."

A mix of rain and wet snow shifted to all snow around noon.

Area dispatchers were reporting several weather-related accidents as well as slick road conditions.

There also is a slight chance of isolated thundersnow, which could result in snowfall totals of more than 6 inches in some areas. Wind gusts could reach as high as 40 mph.

County crews created a three-day a plan for the weather event, which includes splitting crews to cover the morning and evening commutes Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Shifts have also been set up to cover the next 72-hours with split shifts that overlap.

"Now, it's just a matter of the guys being in their trucks and doing their jobs," said Mark DeVries, maintenance supervisor for the county's Department of Transportation.

The snow is expected to slow the evening commute, according to the weather service. Up to an inch of snow could fall per hour in some areas, and residents are urged to not overexert themselves when shoveling the heavy, wet snow, often referred to as heart attack snow.

Several hundred flights have already been canceled or delayed at O'Hare International and Midway airports.

Today's weather event comes less than a week after between 3 and 4 inches of snow fell throughout much of the Chicago region. The heaviest snow totals in McHenry County came from Woodstock, where 5 inches of snow was recorded Thursday into Friday morning.

Temperatures will hover in the low 30s, with winds out of the northeast at 25 to 30 mph.

***Available for a limited time at http://www.nwherald.com/2013/02/26/snow-covered-roads-create-hazardous-conditions-throughout-county/aglmp4z/?page=2.

Illinois State Bar Association State Bar of Wisconsin Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce Illinois Trial Lawyers Association McHenry County Bar Association
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