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Road conditions deteriorate as wintry mix moves across Chicago

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Roads are a mess all over the Chicago area Saturday evening.

At the Des Plaines Oasis, there were plenty of drivers keeping tabs on the weather.

"I haven't been slipping and sliding or anything. Hoping I'll be home before it really gets bad," driver Patrick Lejman said.

"If the roads get icy and get wet," driver Bob Sweda said. "Anytime they get slick, there's oil on the pavement, and it's a problem."

Cab driver Curtis Muldrew will be working all night through the worst of the storm.

"Take it very slow. Very slow. Just have to take your time and not be in a rush. It's just better to get there then not get there at all.," Muldrew said.

Road conditions are expected to go downhill fast with rain turning to a wintry mix and possibly snow.

"We're keeping an eye on the temperature. We keeping an eye on where it's going to be turning from rain to snow and to ice, and we'll get trucks out," the Illinois Department of Transportation's Mike Claffey said.

The day began with spring-like temperatures in the 50s but by nightfall, the mercury had plummeted more than 20 degrees and there was rain.

"You don't think much of it because it's not snow and it's rain. But really, the ice obviously builds up on trees and power lines," Claffey said.

Despite the forecast there wasn't exactly a run on rock salt or snow blowers at Clark Devon Hardware on the North Side.

The owner, Ken Walchak, said salt sales are down 70-percent during this mild and dry winter.

"Most people have their supplies, and unless we get a big storm and everybody runs out of ice melter and rock salt," Walchak said. "I think the glass is half pretty much half-empty at this point."

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