- Associated Press - Sunday, February 1, 2015

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois’ state agencies are on alert as a winter storm pummels much of the top half of the state.

Gov. Bruce Rauner on Sunday activated the State Incident Response Center which means that state personnel and equipment can be deployed quickly to help local emergency responders.

In a statement, Rauner says it’s best to avoid travel. The Republican canceled a morning church stop in Chicago because of the weather.

The agencies include state police and the Illinois National Guard. The Illinois Department of Transportation has about 1,700 trucks available statewide. Officials say 350 of them have been clearing roadways around Chicago.

Blizzard conditions in the Chicago area are expected to continue until early Monday. Up to 18 inches of snow are expected in some portions of the state.

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