Storm dumps 8 inches of snow on Joliet, National Weather Service says

Crews were out in full force early Wednesday in hopes area avoids second blast

A pedestrian crosses North Joliet Street early Wednesday morning. Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022, in Joliet.

The winter storm that blew through much of northeastern Illinois early Wednesday dumped about 8 inches of snow in Joliet.

Jake Peter, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Chicago Office in Romeoville, said a trained weather spotter recorded 8.4 inches in Joliet as of around 9 a.m. on Wednesday.

“That I believe is our highest one,” Peter said of the snowfall report. “That’s probably about what you’re going to see (in the area).”

Later on Wednesday, Peter said the NWS recorded 10 inches of show at its office in Romeoville.

Peter added as of early Wednesday, the system causing the heaviest snowfall appeared to have shifted east, meaning the worst of the precipitation had already passed.

That’s what local officials were hoping after a busy Wednesday morning.

A snow plow clears Oneida Street. Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022, in Joliet.

Joliet Public Works Director Greg Ruddy said his crew of about 45 snowplows were out in full force early Wednesday to clear the main roadways, and those around key emergency areas like the AMITA Health Saint Joseph Medical Center.

Ruddy said his crew members reported to work at about 11 p.m. on Tuesday. The city of Joliet posted on its Facebook page that in preparation for the storm, its snow crew fueled its trucks and loaded them with salt.

“I think we had plenty of notification with this one,” Ruddy said of the storm.

After a full day of clearing the main roadways and residential areas, Ruddy said the city uses contractors to clear many of the cul de sacs around the city. He added that they use smaller vehicles that can more easily maneuver in those areas than his snowplows.

Even though Ruddy said he’s keeping his fingers crossed that the city could avoid another significant snowfall, he said the department was “prepared for that as well.”

The mound of snow continues to grow as a snow removal company clears the parking lot of Menards before they open. Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022, in Joliet.

If another snowstorm were to hit on Thursday, Ruddy said he may have to call in more contractors to help keep Joliet’s roadways clear.

Peter said that while the snowfall had appeared to shift eastward as of Wednesday, there will likely be some light snow on Thursday.

A bit of lake effect snow mostly affecting Cook County could also lead to another 2 to 5 inches of snow for parts of northern Will County throughout Thursday, Peter said.

There was another snow system coming from the Oklahoma and Missouri area which could hit northern Illinois, but Peter said it appeared that snowfall will likely miss the Chicago area.

Heading into the weekend, Peter said the forecast appears “pretty quiet” in terms of further precipitation, but the area will see cold temperatures.

High temperatures will reach only the 20s later this week, Peter said, which could be in part due to the large amount of snow already on the ground that makes it harder to warm up even with clear conditions.

Wednesday’s snow caused local police departments to respond to over a dozen accidents throughout the area.

A pedestrian walks down the middle of Oneida Street as heavy snows continue to fall. Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022, in Joliet.

The storm also forced the cancellation of in-person school for thousands of local students.

Joliet Township High School District, Troy School District, Plainfield School District, Valley View, New Lenox District 122, Lincoln-Way High Schools, Lockport Township High Schools, Laraway School District, and Will County District 92 shifted to remote learning for Wednesday.

Joliet Public School District 86, Richland School District, Rockdale School District and Fairmont School District in Lockport all had traditional snow days due to the storm.

Two districts, New Lenox 122 and Lincoln-Way 210 had already announced they would stick with remote learning for Thursday.

For updated weather forecasts, visit weather.gov.