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The Chicago Area Prepares For First Big Winter Storm

CHICAGO (CBS) – The entire Chicago area is bracing for what is expected to be our first big winter storm, which could create treacherous conditions.

The first real test of the winter season is coming Saturday afternoon, and road crews said they are ready.

CBS 2's Jeremy Ross has the latest on preparations and what you need to know.

Crews across the Chicago area are expected to receive the toughest test of the season within the next 48 hours. The salt piles are ready and crews are expected to work overtime this weekend, especially in Lake County.

CBS 2 visited Lake County's snow command post on Friday evening.

Workers are monitoring nearly 200 areas through traffic video cameras in real time, so they can address problem spots.

There are 29 plows with 34 drivers, mechanics and support staff in Lake County. The area of Lake County could be one of the hardest hit areas during this storm.

The city of Chicago is also preparing.

- City Warns Of 'Extreme' Temperatures, Snow For This Weekend

The city's 300 snow vehicles are ready for the storms set to hit Saturday night and Sunday. Crews will use that equipment to keep roads as clear as possible. Streets and Sanitation manages more than 9,400 miles of roadway. They will have about 374,000 tons of salt ready to keep pavement from icing over.

Despite those efforts, some drivers told CBS 2 they are planning on night driving this weekend.

With the snow comes a drop in temperatures, Cook County has opened up warming centers throughout the area to help those in need. People can call 311 to located the nearest warming center or visit the City of Chicago website for a full list.

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