• WEATHER ALERT Winter Weather Advisory

Heaviest snowfall expected overnight

February 11, 2008 9:03:59 PM PST
It's getting to be a familiar routine: Illinoisans are bracing themselves for another round of snow, with up to six inches forecast for some spots.The National Weather Service says up to an inch of snow has already fallen. But it'll continue through the Tuesday morning rush hour, with three to five inches by the afternoon.

The snow isn't expected to be as heavy as last week's storms, which dropped nearly a foot of snow on some areas in Northern Illinois. But meteorologists say the snow will accumulate quickly because of the recent bone-chilling temperatures.

Chicago officials say roughly half of the city's snow-fighting fleet, or 181 trucks, patrolled the city's main routes during the evening rush hour.

It started snowing late Monday afternoon and was still snowing lightly at 10 p.m. And it is enough to make many of us say enough already.

With triple-digit travel times, driving on the Eisenhower during the evening rush hour Monday was once again nasty with another round of snow. And once again, people's moods were no better.

"I think we have enough for the year. I think we have had enough," said Judy Wickman. "This is getting real old."

If it is not the snow we are battling, then it is another round of subzero temperatures. For many of us, spring can't come quickly enough.

"We even have an extra day in February coming up. So it will probably snow that day too," said Wickman.

The Oak Brook Shopping Center resembled a frozen-over ghost town Monday night. Shawn Chaney, UPS driver, says the weather is not good for business.

"I could do without it. But I don't like the 110 degrees for six months either," he said.

City crews are trying to keep an upper hand on it as the snow is making travel treacherous, whether by car, bus or plane, as both O'Hare and Midway airports were reporting up to 45-minute delays but only a handful of consolations.

A few snowflakes began to fall in the northwest suburbs around 6 p.m. That will add to the at least eight or ten inches of snow already on the ground. A snow advisory is in effect until 4 p.m. Tuesday for the entire metro area.

With more snow imminent, a lot of budgets are getting stretched. It is a winter that we'll remember for years to come, one storm after another has clobbered the area. It has strained our ability to keep adequate salt on hand.

"This is going to be an every other day heavy snow occurrence, which is the way it seems to be happening now. Then we may have to start scrambling for more salt," said Nanci Vanderweel, Elk Grove Township Supervisor.

With many road commissions running low, the price has risen.

"It is difficult to get the salt, everybody is hooking for salt, it isn't just our township," Vanderweel said.

Already, this is the snowiest winter of since 1999. In Harvard, they've seen 55.5 inches of snow, and in Antioch they've been buried under 67.8 inches of snow. By contrast, there's been only 18 inches in Juliet and 11 in Kankakee.

"Businesses have been buried, we're running a lot. If we're not plowing, we're moving snow now. We've been busy, running about 24 hours a day, seven days a week," said Bob Edwards, B&M Snow and Landscaping.

But with additional work, comes additional expense.

"Repairs and maintenance being higher than in the previous years for the vehicles, salt prices being to the sky right now, that's why we haven't looked into it yet," said Edwards.

Another problem we could be facing in the upcoming weeks would be flooding as we get closer to the spring and the snow starts melting. It could cause problems on area rivers in a few weeks.

Bitter cold temperatures had returned to the Chicago area Sunday and Monday. For those who have to venture outside, several layers of clothing were the only defense against dangerous wind chills.

Chicagoans can add snow to their list of winter weather worries after bitter cold subzero temperature hit over the weekend. ABC7's Tracy Butler says between two and four inches of snow is expected to fall starting Monday evening through Tuesday morning. Click here for the complete forecast.

When will Mother Nature give us a break? That's the question many are asking today as they brave the cold canyons of downtown Chicago. With temperatures hovering around zero and a wind chill that feels like a slap in the face, some Chicagoans are flirting with the idea of moving to a warmer city -- at least for a little while.

"I think a lot of San Francisco. It's nice, mild temperatures. Sort of even keel, unlike here where it's freezing one day and warm the next," said Amanda Burr.

"So sick of it. I mean, the combination of like terrible snow and freezing cold. Just crazy. It might be global warming, I don't know, or global cooling," said Grahme Rush.

For the most part, tough Midwestern pedestrians are prepared -- wearing heavy layers and keeping up a good pace on the sidewalks.

But preparing for the inside is just as important as preparing for the outside. On cold days like today, firefighters are reminding people to be careful when heating your home. Carbon monoxide -- or CO -- is a lethal enemy.

"Go out and invest in a C.O. detector because if you have a problem with your flue or with the ice build-up on a roof, it might clog, it could possibly clog a flue pipe or something. Keep the C.O. detector in working order so you know if there is a problem because you can't smell it, you can't taste it," said Bob Hoff, Assistant Department Fire Commissioner, Chicago.

Firefighters can also have problems in the cold. During a recent fire in Schaumburg, several hydrants froze up. Once the water started flowing, firefighters had to deal with slick conditions.

In Chicago, the fire department and the city's water department work together.

"In this weather, they step up for us. They had the steamer units that respond. They are actually tuned into our fire frequency. As the chief officer on the scene, I can call or the company officer can call the water department and say, 'We have a frozen hydrant, can you work on it for us?'" said Hoff.

Residents should never use an oven to heat a home. Firefighters warn residents to be careful with space heaters.

"Try to keep the space heaters at least three feet away from all combustibles," said Hoff.

The Department of Human Services had a very busy weekend in this cold weather. They received more than 100 calls to request no heat and about 50 calls requesting shelter. If you need assistance, call the city's nonemergency number at 311..

For cold weather safety tips, including information on home heating assistance programs and warming center locations, click here.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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