Jobs Homes Autos For Sale

Winter storm socks airports, roads
By Emily Krone and Lee Filas | Daily Herald Staff

Kathy Dobran is one of the few people out on the sidewalks of downtown Geenva as she takes a treacherous hike from her job at State Farm to the post office.


Rick West | Staff Photographer

On her way home from work Sue Tokash of Dundee dodges snow flakes as she makes her way to the bus stop on Lyle Ave in Elgin Wednesday. More snow is due to hit the area.


Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

Arlington Heights residents face another day of snow as a major storm descends on the area.


Bill Zars | Staff Photographer

Dave Stowe of Mundelein stops to help a woman whose car was stuck along Hawley Road in Mundelein during a snow storm in Lake County.


Gilber R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

A Geneva snow plow clears State Street downtown Wednesday morning.


Rick West | Staff Photographer

Thad Burzycki of Jensen Disposal collects garbage along Huntington Drive in Mundelein this morning as snow falls around him.


Gilber R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

Fran Krumlaum helps out her neighbors by snow plowing the wet heavy snow Wednesday afternoon in Naperville.


Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

Richard Adams uses a snow blower in front of his home on West Main Street in downtown Cary around noon Wednesday. Adams has owned the home since 1985 snow storm in Cary.


George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

 1 of 8 
print story
email story
Published: 2/5/2008 8:19 AM | Updated: 2/6/2008 10:42 PM

Send To:





Hundreds of flights have been canceled or delayed, suburban schools closed and community activities canceled, as freezing rain and snow blows through the Chicago area today.

About 700 flights have been canceled at O'Hare Airport, and delays for flights that are taking off are averaging 45 minutes, an airport spokeswoman said.

Midway Airport has canceled 30 flights and is experiencing 30-minute delays.

Illinois Department of Transportation officials warned that roads are slippery, visibility poor and the afternoon commute will be nasty.

More Coverage

Roads are particularly treacherous in Lake and McHenry counties, where plows hadn't yet cleared the roads when more snow started falling this morning.

"It's bad out there, and by all accounts it's going to get worse before it gets better," IDOT spokesman Mike Claffey said. "The combination of fast-falling snow and strong winds is creating really very difficult conditions on the roads."

Snowfall rates of one to two inches per hour are possible during the early afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.

Some areas, particularly near the Wisconsin border, could be hit with up to 12 inches of snow by this evening.

Winds of up to 35 mph are expected to cause blowing and drifting snow and hazardous driving conditions.

A winter storm warning remains in effect until 6 p.m. this evening.

Accumulation is expected to be as much as 10 to 12 inches in Lake and McHenry counties before the snowfall slows tonight. Cook County could get 4 to 6 inches.

The late-ending storm will no doubt make the evening rush hour commute miserable. Most schools across the six-county suburban area are closed or announcing they will close early. The McHenry County Government Center in Woodstock also is closed. Lake County's government center in Waukegan is open.

ComEd spokesman Joe Trost said only 500 customers scattered systemwide lost power overnight. However, he said, heavy winds and ice could cause problems today.

"For the most part, unless the wind and ice hit, we are usually okay," Trost said. "It was supposed to get windy last night and it never did. But, there could be some outages throughout the day."

The Lake County Emergency Management Team said the storm has been slower to develop than models predicted.

Residents in need of help in the snowfall should be prepared to contact their local fire and rescue team for assistance.

The storm also has affected local sporting events. Two girls basketball championship games scheduled for Wednesday night have been postponed because of the weather.

The Mid-Suburban League title game featuring Wheeling at Schaumburg has been rescheduled for Thursday night, Feb. 7, at 7:30 p.m., and the North Suburban Conference title game featuring Warren at Grant has been tentatively rescheduled for Saturday night, Feb. 9.

Other postponements include at prep games at Crystal Lake and Grayslake and Benedictine University's men's basketball game at Rockford College. For the latest info, see the complete list on Prep Sports page.

In addition, the heavy rains and gusting winds forced the cancellation of Wednesday night's Balmoral Park racing card. With the weather expected to get worse by evening, track management and horseman agreed to cancel the races.


Storm spreads woe in northern Cook County (4:02 p.m.)

In northern Cook County, the list of closings spiraled as the day went on, with many government offices, schools and shopping centers such as Randhurst and Woodfield closing early.

Buffalo Grove Village Hall closed at 1 p.m., and the village is warning residents to stay home unless trips outside are absolutely necessary. School districts 96 and 102 have also closed for the day.

Wheeling village hall closed around 2 p.m. Interim Village President Pat Horcher said the village is sending plows out to Dundee and Milwaukee avenues, even though they are both state routes, in an effort to keep major roads clean.

Long Grove Village Hall also closed down in the afternoon. The Schaumburg Village Hall will close early, at 4 p.m. instead of 6 p.m. Hanover Township offices were closing by 4:30 p.m.

Both the Hanover Park and Hoffman Estates branches of the Schaumburg Township District Library closed today. The central Schaumburg library remains open until 5 p.m.

Pace routes are still running, although many are behind schedule. According to a spokesman, the worst delays are in Waukegan, where buses are about an hour behind in the heaviest snowfall.

The Wheeling Park District stopped all its activities at 1 p.m. According to the district's Web site, all facilities and programs will return to normal Thursday.

If you're running out to buy something during the snow storm this afternoon, you might want to call ahead. Woodfield Mall and IKEA will close at 4 p.m. Wednesday due to the weather. Both would normally have closed at 9 p.m.

"It's totally driven by the safety of employees and customers," Woodfield Marketing Director Lisa Stricker said.

General Manager Marc Strich said this is the first time in his seven years with Woodfield that the mall has closed early because of snow. But all the stores are expected to reopen at their regular times Thursday morning.

The decision was made among the managers of Woodfield and its department stores, but the mall had been receiving calls from neighboring stores inquiring what Woodfield's plans were, Strich said.

A manager at Borders across Golf Road from Woodfield said there were no immediate plans for her store to close early, though other stores in the same shopping center were expecting to.


Hold the salt (4:02 p.m.)

Schaumburg Public Works Director Steve Weinstock said the village is far exceeding its winter snow removal budget in both road salt and overtime costs.

The village would normally use about 6,000 tons of road salt in an entire winter. This winter's estimates have been recently to about 8,400 tons.

Weinstock believes the village probably reached its snow budget level for the entire year in about mid-January. He'd heard weather reports that the area has already received about 60 inches of snow this season.

Long-duration snowfalls of the kind that fell Wednesday and just last week are especially hard in that constant effort is needed just to make a dent in the heavy accumulation, Weinstock said.


Trash pickup on hold (4:02 p.m.)

Due to the weather conditions, Wednesday garbage and recycling collection will be delayed in Palatine.

Residents should leave their garbage and recycling carts at the curb. Groot will collect all missed garbage and recycling on Thursday. For further information, call (847) 359-9090.

Watch out if you're driving on side streets in Palatine. According to the village's public works department, salt is at an all time low and so is being used sparingly.

Workers are spreading salt on main roads and intersections and cutting back on less-traveled streets.


Library closed (4:02 p.m.)

The Arlington Heights Memorial Library closed at 1 p.m. and about 12 car accidents were reported between 1 and 3 p.m. in Arlington Heights, according the police department.

Throughout the village, snow plows began working around the clock to clear streets at 4 a.m. today and will continue through tonight, said Scott Shirley, Arlington Heights Director of Public Works.

"The bottom line is, if you don't have to go out in this weather, don't," Shirley said.


Snow can't stop shoppers in Oak Brook (3:50 p.m.)

With school closings and traffic advisories in full effect today, it would make sense that an outdoor mall like Oakbrook Center would be a ghost town.

But it's not. Even with heavy snow and blustery, 30 mph winds, mall spokeswoman Suzanne Beres said: "There are definitely shoppers."

Of course, the mall in Oak Brook isn't bustling. Still, loyal customers are braving the weather to visit their favorite shops, salons and restaurants, Beres said. Some visitors came to admire the winter beauty on the mall's landscaping

"There are some people here who think there is a lot of beauty in fresh, falling snow," Beres said.

The heavy snow has increased the workload for the mall's maintenance and ground crews, but Beres wouldn't comment on whether the workers have been required to put in overtime. However, she said crews have been working to keep the parking lots, walkways and mall roads clear.

"They're a great team and they'll do what it takes," Beres said. "As long as the exterior roads are open, we'll do our best to keep Oakbrook Center open for our shoppers."


College of DuPage cancels classes (3:07 p.m.)

Classes at the College of DuPage are canceled today after 3 p.m. and the campus itself will shut down at 4 p.m.

While the Glen Ellyn school normally is "open if campus lots and roads are navigable," officials were worried about worsening conditions for students and teachers getting to the school, college spokesman Bill Troller said.


Mixing sand with salt (2:30 p.m.)

To deal with the mounting snow hitting the area this winter, Des Plaines has started diluting its salt with sand to make it last. Des Plaines expected to use 200 to 300 tons on Wednesday to keep the roads ice-free, Public Works Director Matt Dusckett said.

The city started the winter with 5,000 tons of salt. Des Plaines had 1,000 tons left -not including the salt that had to be used to battle the Wednesday snow.

Des Plaines' supply will be enough for at least three more storms, but the city will have to compete with surrounding towns for more salt from suppliers.

"We've called all over the place, but no one has any," Dusckett said.


Classes canceled (1:51 p.m.)

All afternoon preschool and kindergarten classes as well as all after-school activities and events are canceled in Wheaton Warrenville Unit District 200.

District staff said they'd watched the weather reports last night expecting a mound of snow this morning. Mother Nature didn't quite cooperate. The snowfall didn't begin until students already were in school.

"It's just not materialized quite as bad as they said it would, at least at this point" said District 200 spokesman Robert Rammer early Wednesday. "We're watching it pretty carefully."

The snowfall did increase as the day wore on, ultimately causing the class and program cancellations.

Some school districts already have made the same call earlier in the day. Carol Stream Elementary District 93 and Lombard Elementary District 44 have canceled all after-school activities. Classes also were canceled at Wheaton Academy in West Chicago.


Rec center, libraries close (1:37 p.m.)

The Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin and the Centre of Elgin both announced they would close at 3 p.m. today. The city's Zoning Board and Liquor Commission boards also canceled their nightly meetings. Denise Raleigh, the library's marketing director, said traffic was much less than the 2,200 people per day the facility normally receives. "We are receiving many calls from people who can't make it to pick up their holds and we are assuring them that those items will be available to pick up (Saturday)," she said.

The Algonquin Public Library and Pingree Grove's village hall are closed today. So are all of the school districts and parochial schools in the Fox Valley, save Community Unit District 300 -- which sent high school and middle school home early. Afternoon and evening classes for the Lake in the Hills Parks and Recreation Department had been canceled for the day.

Business at the Green Garden Chinese restaurant had already been slow, said Manager Van Keokan, noting that the Fox River Grove eatery didn't even open its buffet today. "This is first time that the weather is really bad," Keokan said. Typically, the restaurant uses one or two drivers to deliver Chinese take-out orders. But with a foot of snow projected for the area, Keokan decided it would be best that customers eat in.

The phone lines at Rosati's Pizza in Sleepy Hollow, however, were humming. Employee Surag Patel said the parlor's afternoon rush was more pronounced than usual and he was calling in extra drivers to meet the demand from area businesses that wanted lunch to come to them today. "Right now, we're buzzing. Any time the weather is bad and there's snow, our business picks up," Patel said, noting delivery times had to be increased from about an hour to almost 90 minutes in some cases.

Trash that wasn't collected today in Algonquin will be picked up Thursday, according to the village's Web site. Thursday's pick up will resume Friday and Friday's will happen Saturday. Drivers were already being yanking off their trash routes in Lake in the Hills, Carpentersville and South Elgin that are handled by Arc Disposal. Trash collection was expected to pick up Thursday, officials said.


Stevenson gets out early (1:31 p.m.)

Stevenson High School students and teachers started the day in classes, but administrators decided to send everyone home early. A 1 p.m. release was scheduled, rather than the regular 3:25 p.m. final bell. Activities were canceled, too.

The school's plans for Thursday haven't been finalized yet.

"We'll have to wait and see how the storm plays out today," spokesman Jim Con-rey said. "Students should assume we will have school unless told otherwise."

Unlike the Stevenson students, it was a full snow day Wednesday for the adults working at the Lake County Regional Office of Education in Grayslake. The office exercises control and supervision over 45 school districts.

Gurnee authorities were busy as well, but no major weather-related incidents were reported, said police Cmdr. Jay Patrick.

Vernon Hills Public Works Superintendent Ed Laudenslager said: "There is a lot of moisture in the snow making it hard to push and move. Coupled with the winds picking up it will be a difficult next 6 hours. We really appreciated all of the schools making the good decision to cancel school today, that has significantly reduced traffic in the Village. Otherwise our staff is doing a great job keeping up with plowing."

Libertyville Sports Complex has canceled all youth and adult soccer league games scheduled for today. Makeup dates will be announced at a later time.

Lake County's two largest malls and its government offices are closing early today because of harsh weather conditions. Westfield Hawthorn in Vernon Hills and Gurnee Mills are shutting at 2 p.m.

Lake County government officials announced their offices will be closed to the public at 3 p.m. Affected are the Lake County government campus in Libertyville and its offices in downtown Waukegan.

Employees deemed essential for Lake County circuit court will not be sent home early. They'll be available to handle court matters. Regular operating hours, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., are expected to be in place Thursday.


DuPage Co. roads looking bad (12:58 p.m.)

Ice, snow, slush and whatever else was coating the road this morning didn't stop some lead-footed drivers in Naperville.

"We were still able to write two speeding tickets," police Cmdr. Dave Hoffman said. "The underlining message is people need to slow down."

One of the offending motorists was going 61 mph in a 45 mph zone at Bailey Road and Plainfield-Naperville Road and the other was driving 38 mph in a 25 mph zone on River Road.

Sleep was at a premium for Naperville Unit District 203 officials Tuesday night.

Supporters of the district's referendum campaign gathered at Tessa's to wait for results and ultimately celebrate voters' approval of $43 million to fund facility improvements.

But just a few hours later, duty called and administrators had to go through the process of making an early morning decision of whether the impending snowstorm merited canceling school once again.

Classes are indeed in session today and the district plans to operate on a normal schedule, although afternoon buses may be delayed.