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Snow Blog: Park District Closes Early, HS Sport Events Canceled

Weather updates, event cancellations and other news you need to know during the storm.

6:29 p.m.

The  closed at 6 p.m. due to the weather, Executive Director Stephanie Gurgone said. All evening programs have been canceled.

But deal seekers, rejoice: The Baby Bargain Boutique and Maternity Sale is still on for Saturday. The event starts at 9 a.m.

The fitness center will also be open Saturday during its normal hours.

For other cancellations around Darien, see the 4:18 p.m. blog post below.

4:18 p.m.

If you've noticed the roads staying constantly snow-covered today, don't blame a lack of salt, Director Dan Gombac said.

"When it snows like this, salt does not have the opportunity to melt the roadway," he said.

The snow is simply coming down too quickly — as soon as it turns to slush, it's covered by a new layer of white stuff.

Crews are concentrating on hills and intersections, he said, but the roads are covered in snow again within about 10 minutes, Gombac said.

"I encourage people stay off the roads unless it's absolutely necessary," he said.

A second shift of snowplow operators will be taking over in the early evening from the first shift, Gombac said. They'll be out there constantly until the snow comes to an end. He expects to have everything cleaned up by about 2 or 3 a.m. Saturday.

Cass Avenue between 63rd and 83rd Street, as well as pretty much all of Interstate 55, is particularly slow going right now, according to Mapquest traffic.

A vehicle that stalled on an I-55 exit ramp near Lemont Road around 2:30 p.m. has been removed.

CANCELLATIONS

has canceled the following events:

  • Boys basketball at Morton
  • Wrestling vs. Morton
  • Girls bowling invitational at home
  • The diving portion of a swimming/diving meet at Lockport has been rescheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday

Cancellations at include:

  • JV2 Girls' Gymnastics at York
  • Varsity Girls' Bowling at Hinsdale South
  • Boys' Swimming vs. GBW 

Downers Grove South has canceled:

  • All weight training, including softball and football
  • Cheerleading practice
  • Freshmen & sophomore girls basketball practice
  • Boys track practice
  • Rehearsal for the Black History presentation
  • Boys swimming/diving vs. Morton
  • JV girls gymnastics vs. York
  • Wrestling vs. Proviso East
  • Girls bowling at Hinsdale

has canceled a showing of the movie Groundhog Day.

 has canceled its rec night.

3:08 p.m.

A stalled vehicle is blocking an exit ramp on inbound Interstate 55 at Lemont Road, according to Mapquest traffic.

Crews expect to have the vehicle cleared by 4 p.m.

Roads are indeed treacherous. crews finished clearing an accident on Plainfield west of Route 83 about an hour ago.

has canceled a rec night scheduled for Friday evening. No word of other closings or cancellations yet.

10:44 a.m.

As the flakes begins to fall around Darien, the National Weather Service now predicts the area will get about four to seven inches of snow during the impending storm. Some areas could get more.

The worst is still expected to come during the afternoon commute. Drivers are advised to stay off the road during the storm's peak unless it's an emergency.

6:00 a.m.

The morning commute Friday is expected to be clear.

But the drive home, according to the National Weather Service, will be a very different story.

Five to eight inches of snow is expected to fall around through the day, starting midmorning and tapering off around midnight, the NWS reports. 

The storm will likely be at its worst in the late afternoon — just in time for Friday's rush hour. During that time, the NWS said snow could fall at a rate of one inch an hour. 

Because the snow will be falling amid frigid temperatures, salt won't be as effective at thawing the roads. Friday's high is expected to be 21 degrees.

Driving will be "treacherous" (the NWS's word) during the storm's peak and people are advised to stay off the roads unless it's an emergency.

The Illinois Tollway said in a release Thursday that it's mobilizing its entire fleet of 183 plows to combat the snow.

The Tollway also offered these tips for staying safe on the roads:

  • Clear snow and ice from all windows, mirrors and lights on your vehicle before you drive.  Blowing snow can significantly diminish visibility.  Clearing all snow before you begin driving assures maximum vision of your surroundings and assists in reducing ice and snow buildup as you drive.
  • Adjust speed to road conditions and traffic around you.  Reducing speed during inclement weather conditions increases your ability to respond to the unexpected.
  • Reduce speed on ramps and in cash lanes at toll plazas.  Drivers paying cash at toll plazas or traveling on ramps should adjust their speed on approach during snow and ice storms.  Watch for lane designations on approach to the toll plaza; switching lanes close to the toll plaza is unsafe, especially during winter weather.
  • Increase the interval between your vehicle and the one in front of you.  By creating more distance between your vehicle and others, you decrease your chances of a collision because stopping distances increase as pavement conditions deteriorate.
  • Avoid unnecessary lane changes.  During heavy snowstorms, slush and packed snow build up in the area between traffic lanes.  Abrupt or frequent lane changes may cause your vehicle to slide on the buildup and spin out of control.
  • Keep away from snowplows.  Should you encounter snowplows, the safest choice is to keep back and let them do their job.  They travel at a speed of approximately 30 mph, so traffic delays should be expected.  During periods of extremely heavy snow, Illinois Tollway snowplows will work in tandem to remove as much ice, slush and snow as possible from all lanes at once.
  • Do not use the shoulder of the road to pass a snowplow.  Some snowplows are equipped with wing plows that extend to the left or right of the vehicle.  While these wings allow for more efficient removal of snow, they are nearly invisible to passing motorists due to blowing snow.  De-icing materials spread from the rear of the truck may also be a distraction to motorists attempting to pass.
  • Call *999 for roadway assistance.  Should you encounter car trouble and require roadway assistance, try to move your car to a safe position on the shoulder or in an untraveled area.  Report stranded vehicles by dialing *999 from a cellular phone.
  • Stay in your vehicle, H.E.L.P. is on the way.  During continued periods of extremely cold weather, the Illinois Tollway operates a "Zero Patrol" to supplement the Illinois State Police District 15 and the Tollway's Highway Emergency Lane Patrol (H.E.L.P.) vehicles.  These patrols enable us to cover the entire 286-mile Tollway system 24 hours per day when temperatures and wind chills are at or below zero.  Stay in your vehicle - it's the safest place to be if you are stranded.

Source: Illinois Tollway

Stay tuned to Patch throughout the day for the latest storm news.

Keep an eye on the roads with our live traffic map.

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