The National Weather Service is warning residents of Illinois and Indiana to exercise extreme caution as a winter storm hitting the region peaks Thursday afternoon.
Snowfall rates of an inch or more are expected for several hours in several suburban counties, including Kankakee County in Illinois and Newton and Jasper counties in Indiana, officials said.
Areas north of this range could still see heavy snowfall of up to an inch per hour until at least 6 p.m., forecast models predict.
Bands of snow currently moving across the region from southwest to northeast are causing rapid accumulations, and gusty winds are causing near-whiteout conditions on many roads in the region, leading to crashes and closures roads throughout the region.
The heaviest snow is forecast to fall until 6 p.m., with light snow still expected to hit the area until at least 9 p.m.
Forecasters are urging residents to stay home whenever possible, and to slow down and increase following distance if driving is necessary.
Snowplows are struggling to keep roads clear because of the heavy snow, officials said.