CHICAGO — You should avoid the lakefront on Monday unless you enjoy getting cold and wet and battling floods. And if you're planning on driving home from work, be careful.
The ice storm that's hitting the city will be accompanied by high winds, high waves, potential flooding and low temperatures, said AccuWeather meteorologist Michael Leseney.
Though Leseney said the storms should be "mainly a morning problem," the National Weather Service has extended its winter storm warning until 6 p.m. So, expect strong winds and slick roads up until nightime.
A high wind warning for the area has also been extended to 7 p.m. Monday, according to the National Weather Service. Gusts of up to 60 miles per hour could last until then, according to the NWS.
The Illinois State Police's Chicago District has activated its emergency snow plan, the agency said in a statement this afternoon.
State Police, which respond to calls on Chicago's interstates and highways, said it will still respond to emergency situations, including crashes and stranded motorists.
Motorists who are able to safely drive away from a collision are encouraged to do so, but not without exchanging information with other affected drivers, State Police said. Drivers can file collision reports with State Police for up to 14 days after the incident.
Leseney, Accuweather meteorologist, said Monday's storm would be characterized by severe winds and all kinds of precipitation.
"I think for the most part we are going to see a very windy, cold day today with sleet and freezing rain during the morning hours," Leseney said.
That could create problems along the lakefront, Leseney said: winds of up to 40 or 50 miles could lead to large waves that cause flooding around the shore. The National Weather Service has issued a lakeshore flood warning for Chicago's lakefront.
"I would [avoid the lakefront] unless they want to get wet," Leseney said. "I certainly wouldn't go swimming in it."
But, Monday's expected high of 36 degrees is still warmer than the usual high of 32 degrees at this time of year, Leseney said. And he expects Monday night will only get as low as 34 degrees, though the usual nighttime low is 18 degrees.
On Tuesday, parts of the city will see snow and rain showers. There will be a high of 36 degrees, but it will come with a "brisk, cold wind," Leseney said.
The rest of the week should be even colder.
"If you're looking for below-normal cold, you're not gonna have to wait long. It will be coming ... as we get into Thursday, Friday, Saturday, highs are gonna be in the mid-20s to near-30 during those days.
"While it will be dry, it's just gonna be a very cold start to our New Year's Day."
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