Dust storms shut down several highways in Illinois – NBC Chicago

A “Severe Weather Warning” is in effect for several counties in the Chicago metropolitan area, bringing extremely dangerous travel conditions for possible severe weather in the region.

Blowing dust may cause traffic problems in many western suburbs, with winds of up to 45mph posing problems, particularly near fields that have recently been plowed.

The warning is currently in effect for McHenry, Kane, DeKalb, LaSalle, Grundy and Kendall counties, with blowing dust causing significant problems inland.

According to the McLean County Sheriff's Office, Interstate 55 is closed near McLean, traffic is being rerouted via Route 136 and rejoined the highway at Shirley Road. Southbound traffic will also be detoured from Shirley Road and allowed back onto the highway at US 51.

Interstate 74 is also closed in both directions near Exit 152, officials said.

Nearly zero visibility is reported on some sections of these highways as dust from the fields is kicked up and blocks visibility onto the roads.

Authorities say the strong winds are also causing danger for heavy vehicles on north-south roads in the region.

Drivers affected by the storms are urged to pull off the road as far as possible, stop, turn off all lights and apply emergency braking.

Drivers are also asked not to get out of their vehicle, keep their seat belts fastened, and make sure their foot is off the brake pedal to avoid illuminating the tail lights, which can cause other drivers to think they are following the flow of traffic.

Even after the advisory ends, the threat of severe weather could continue in central Illinois, with gusty winds, hail and even the risk of tornadoes Tuesday evening.

Anna Harden

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