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Authorities advise staying off the roads Saturday

Published: Friday, Jan. 31, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Jan. 31, 2014 9:52 p.m. CDT

Another blast of hazardous wintry weather is likely this weekend, although snow and wind is expected to be the problem this time.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for Saturday in Grundy County, warning of wind gusts up to 40 miles per hour and several inches of snow. A hazardous weather outlook has been issued through Wednesday.

Illinois State Police is urging motorists to determine if travel is necessary before driving Saturday.

Grundy County Sheriff Kevin Callahan said as long as plows keep up with the snow, the roads should be clear.

“But if we get high winds, you should not travel if you don’t have to,” Callahan said. “Obviously we’ve been dealing with these conditions all winter. So we’re well prepared.”

A news release from the state police recommended motorists to bring a charged cellphone, phone charger, food, water, warm clothing and blankets in case they get stranded for long periods of time.

The active weather pattern moving into the area won’t bring the record low temperatures from past storms, but it will still steadily drop snow in the area, National Weather Service Meteorologist Stephen Rodriguez said.

“The snow from today will persist through tomorrow and continue into Friday evening,” Rodriguez said Thursday. “But Friday night or Saturday morning holds the potential for more significant snowfall, up to six inches by Monday.”

Rodriguez said the storm system is coming from the southwest, which doesn’t bring the extreme cold temperatures the northern weather patterns brought weeks ago. Temperatures throughout the storm are expected to hover in the 20s and 30s.

Rodriguez said the weather service also is keeping track of another storm that might immediately follow the current system early to mid-week, but said it was too early to tell if the storm will make a significant impact in the county.

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