Will County now braces for bitter cold, ice and slick roads

Residents along Vernon Avenue in Joliet come out to deal with the evening snow on Tuesday, Jan. 9th, 2024.

Will County remains under a winter weather advisory until noon as a wintry mix of sleet, rain and more snow are expected to sweep over the region, according to the National Weather Service.

Snow fall totals as of late Friday morning were reported between 4.5 inches to 5.5 inches in Will County.

The advisory includes Grundy, Kendall, La Salle, southern Cook and Will County.

The weather is still expected to be dangerous over the next few days, according to the NWS.

The snow and rain will be followed by a cold blast that will move in Saturday, with high temperatures Sunday through Tuesday being in the single digits and overnight lows below zero.

Wind chills will be at dangerous levels of 20 to 30 below zero, according to the NWS.

With bitter cold advancing, roads may be slick because of freeze-back, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. Always use extra caution on bridges, ramps and overpasses, IDOT cautioned.

Municipalities have warming centers for those who need them.

The Will County Emergency Management Agency lists warming centers around the county on its website, willcountyema.org.

Areas of blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility and gusty winds could bring down tree branches, according to the NWS.

A Lockport resident posted Friday morning on a Facebook community page a photo of a power line tipped over at Bruce Road and IL Route 171/State Street.

ComEd reported on Friday morning power outages throughout the eastern Northern Illinois region, including portions of Will County. Most of those were being restored throughout the day.

The dangerous road conditions led the city of Crest Hill and Republic Services to announce that garbage services would be suspended on Friday and Saturday.

The waste removal service said Sunday will not be used as a make-up day for the suspended service and pickups will resume on Monday, Jan. 15.

In a statement on Facebook, the city explained that impacted customers would not be serviced until their next scheduled pick-up day next week.

“All affected customers will be serviced on their next scheduled service and we’ll collect any additional waste they have out,” the statement from Republic Services read. “If this week was your scheduled recylcing pickup week, it will be pushed back until the week of the 22nd. We will take the extra recycling at that time.”

The city and company issued an apology for the inconvenience and said “this decision is to keep everyone safe and enable the road crews to get the roads cleared.”

Snow covered trees line Lawrence Ave. in Lockport on the morning of Friday, Jan. 12, 2024.

In Joliet, police responded to 12 weather-related crashes between 4 a.m. and 11 a.m. Friday, Joliet police Sgt. Dwayne English said. All crashes were minor in nature and no injures were reported.

“We urge motorists to use extra caution when driving in snow and icy conditions as well as frigid temperatures,” English said.”Please give extra space to city snowplow crews who are working hard to clear our streets.”

Police are also asking motorists to be “extra mindful to clear all snow and ice from their vehicles, including windows, lights, and roof,” English said.

Major tow companies are at full capacity with their fleets out on service calls, Will County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Kathy Hoffmeyer said.

“The sheriff’s office is advising drivers who are stuck in ditches to call private tow companies,” Hoffmeyer said.

As of about 9:40 a.m. Friday, there were no major accidents throughout the night or morning in Will County, Hoffmeyer said.

The county had several vehicles in ditches but no road closures, she said.

A truck salts the parking lot of University of St. Francis on Tuesday, Jan. 9th, 2024 in Joliet.

The snow started coming down shortly after Will County sent out 32 or 36 plow trucks, Will County Maintenance Administrator John Cairns said.

The early going was tough, but a let-up in the snow made it possible to get the job done and keep the roads open on Friday.

“All the roads we maintain are wet and wide open,” Cairns said late Friday morning after the snow had been replaced in many area by a drizzling rain.

A combination of rain and snow was expected in Friday night and Saturday morning. Cairns said the rain could keep the snow moist enough so that not much blows as winds were expected to pick up to as much as 40 mph gusts.

“We are going to be ready no matter what happens,” he said.

A forecast of heavy snow Friday night into Saturday morning was fading as the day went on.

“That second phase that was supposed to come tomorrow seems to be going away,” said Joe Nordman, deputy director of operations for the Joliet Department of Public Works.

Joliet had 45 snow plow trucks on the road at about 4:20 a.m.

“That’s everybody,” Nordman said, noting they were needed because of the rate at which snow was falling.

“The stuff came fast this morning – that’s for sure,” he said.