Illinois Governor JB Pritzker issued a disaster declaration Tuesday and activated members of the Illinois National Guard to ensure all state resources are available to deal with the heavy snow, ice, and blizzard conditions expected through the week.
According to a press release:
The Governor is directing IEMA to coordinate a robust, statewide response which will include more than 1,800 IDOT trucks and equipment, ISP patrols to help stranded motorists, and approximately 130 members of the Illinois National Guard.
IEMA’s State Emergency Operations Center in Springfield will be activated to coordinate the state’s response to the storm. Representatives from relevant state agencies will staff the SEOC 24 hours a day throughout the storm and quickly deploy resources to impacted communities.Office of Governor JB Pritzker
“I’m authorizing a disaster proclamation for Winter Storm Landon, effective immediately, to support local government disaster response and recovery operations wherever necessary. I want to assure county and local officials and everyone in the path of the storm that my administration will provide resources every step of the way,” Pritzker said. “On the ground, all state assets stand ready to assist. I encourage everyone to do what you can to stay safe: listen to local authorities to stay up to date with the latest conditions in your community and make sure your household has essentials.”
According to the release, the Governor is activating approximately 130 members of the Illinois National Guard to support winter weather operations in central Illinois. The soldiers and airmen will be assigned as winter weather platoons of approximately 18 soldiers equipped with six High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV) and one Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck Wrecker. The Airmen, from the 182nd Airlift Wing, based in Peoria, will also be equipped with six HMMWVs.
The Illinois National Guard will serve as a critical force multiplier for the Illinois State Police (ISP), who will be deploying teams to assist stranded motorists across the state. Guard units will initially be deployed to ISP Districts 9 – Springfield, 10 – Pesotum, 18 – Litchfield, 20 – Pittsfield and 21 – Ashkum, to assist motorists.
Statewide, IDOT will deploy more than 1,800 trucks and equipment to plow, treat roads and respond to weather emergencies. Driver should slow down, increase driving distance and remain patient. Because of the storm’s potential, non-essential travel is strongly discouraged.
The press release offered the following travel tips:
- Drastically reduce speeds and take it slow, especially when approaching intersections, ramps, bridges and shaded areas that are prone to icing.
- Make sure your gas tank is full.
- Keep a cell phone, warm clothes, blankets, food, water, a first-aid kit, washer fluid and an ice scraper in your vehicle. Dial *999 in the Chicago area for assistance in case of emergency.
- Check the forecast and make sure someone is aware of your route and schedule.
- Reminder: Using handheld phones while driving is illegal in Illinois, unless it is an emergency.
- If you are involved in a crash or break down, remain inside your vehicle, which is your safest form of shelter. Exiting your vehicle into live traffic can have fatal consequences.
- Always wear a seat belt, whether you’re sitting in the front seat or back seat. It’s the law. Never get behind the wheel impaired.
Governor Pritzker’s disaster proclamation is available here.