While motorists nervously grip the wheel and plow drivers guzzle coffee in the face of a long night, local school children delighted in today’s snowfall.
With area schools all closed, 10-year-old Luke Carus and 9-year-old Gunnar Jauch spent their day off from school sledding down McKinley Hill in Peru. The hill was crowded with other students blazing a rushed trail down the slopes aboard sleds and inflatable tubes.
Luke’s mom, Tammi Carus, said he was very excited to have a day off school and today was his first time sledding down McKinley Hill.
“It’s bumpy,” Luke described his path down the snowy slope.
Twelve hours after Winter Storm Saturn first began pasting the Illinois Valley in snow — and prompted dozens of school closings — reports filtered in that the snowfall might not be as meddlesome as initially feared.
Angie Senica, dispatcher at Senica Interstate Towing in La Salle, said roadside conditions were worse when she reported for work at 6:30 a.m. than in daylight, even though snow fell constantly. She credited municipal and county crews for keeping the roads clear with salt and steady plowing.
As for calls from stranded motorists and jackknifed trucks, “It’s been pretty steady, but not too crazy. I think with the closings, everybody’s been off the road. But it’s been a prosperous day.”
Earlier today, drivers said they were braced for a long day amid reports that Saturn would dump 5-9 inches of snow before tapering off early tomorrow morning. La Salle, Bureau and Putnam counties all remain under a winter storm warning; but with temperatures above freezing snow totals had, at least by 4 p.m., fallen short of projections.
That could change tonight. Jamie Enderlen, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said snow could accumulate as temperatures fall at dusk.
While snow will taper off into flurries and halt in the pre-dawn hours tomorrow, heavy snow is expected to continue through about 8 p.m.
“It’s not over yet,” Enderlen said.
Tom Collins can be reached at (815) 220-6930 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Alicia LeGrand can be reached at (815) 220-6931 or email@example.com.