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home : news : local   May 24, 2016

1/4/2014 1:32:00 PM
Chillin'-ois Valley: Area braces for sub-zero temps


Peru postal carrier Tim Filipiak carries mail along his route earlier this week with a temperature 15 degrees, and wind chill of 0. Filipiak joked that the snow, sleet and cold temperatures,  part of the job description for a postman, weren’t getting him down. “I am having a wonderful time,” he quipped. NewsTribune photo/Chris Yucus
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Peru postal carrier Tim Filipiak carries mail along his route earlier this week with a temperature 15 degrees, and wind chill of 0. Filipiak joked that the snow, sleet and cold temperatures,  part of the job description for a postman, weren’t getting him down. “I am having a wonderful time,” he quipped.

NewsTribune photo/Chris Yucus
Highway departments battling blowing snow
All highways in La Salle County were reported in bad shape due to the 7-inch snow followed by blowing drifting Sunday morning. Township and county highway departments are working hard to keep up, and La Salle County Highway Department has every driver working.

If you can stay home, stay home, law enforcers say.

La Salle County Highway Department worked until 9 p.m. Saturday and has been back at it since 5 a.m. today.

This is no day to get stuck in a ditch, law enforcers note - subzero temps will take hold tonight and double-digit-below-zero wind chill warning takes effect later this afternoon and remains until well into Tuesday




By Tom Collins and Tamara Abbey
NewsTribune staff

Unless you like your weather really cold, this would be a good week to patch things up with that cousin who owns a time share on Marco Island.

Meteorologists unveiled a nasty five-day forecast that could begin with heavy snow tonight (Weather Channel: 60 percent chance of snow) and then will certainly be followed by a deep freeze that could have you pricing flights to Disney World.

“It’s the one-two punch of winter: First the snow, then the cold,” said Ed Fenelon, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Romeoville.

While the snow could miss the Illinois Valley, Fenelon said there surely will come cold air that will make the mercury drop precipitously. Sunday will have a daytime high in the teens, followed by an overnight low of minus-8 degrees.

Temperatures will hover in the ice-blue zone through Tuesday, with highs (relatively speaking) of minus-6 Monday and minus-2 Tuesday and lows of at least 10 below zero both nights.

Wednesday may or may not be warmer. Fenelon said temperatures should climb to 16 degrees above zero, but with winds that could make the 20-degree swing seem less than balmy.

“Thursday will be the time to pull out the shorts and T-shirts,” Fenelon quipped. “We’ll be up to 30 degrees.”

All joking aside, temperatures will plunge to dangerous levels and area residents are encouraged to mind their own safety and those around them.

Public Action to Deliver Shelter plans to extend its service hours from overnight into the daytime to meet a census that has begun rising.

“We’re already filling up,” said Carol Alcorn, executive director. “The men’s area in Peru is full and we had four people register last night in Ottawa. And if there are more coming in, then we’ll roll out the cots.”

More clients means more meals to be served, and Alcorn has issued an all-hands-on-deck call to trained volunteers to prepare and serve meals between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Alcorn is urging volunteers, and food donors, to call ahead at (815) 224-3047. Serving the additional clients requires coordination and Alcorn wants to avoid turning away walk-in volunteers.

No school closings had been announced as of Friday, in part because some districts have teacher institute days set for Monday and students remain on Christmas break until Tuesday. Parents should listen for school closings or expect automated calls as early as Sunday night.

Mendota High School superintendent Jeff Prusator said he’s more concerned with road conditions than the thermometer.

“The concern from our perspective is if the roads are ice covered and have some snow on them,” he said, explaining the district includes a large rural area where blowing and drifting snow can make it difficult for buses.

Families also are urged to keep a sharp eye on their loved ones, particularly elders and pets, as the Illinois Valley faces a dangerous cold spell.

Illinois Valley Community Hospital in Peru is keeping its cafeteria, accessible from the West Street entrance, open around the clock to serve as a warming center for anyone seeking relief from the cold.

IVCH also warns residents to watch for signs of hypothermia, a potentially fatal drop in body temperature. Symptoms include a puffy or swollen face, pale skin, heavy shivering, slower than normal speech or slurring words and acting sleepy. Anyone who registers a temperature that doesn’t rise above 96 degrees after being warmed with blankets or additional clothes should seek immediate medical attention.

Motorists are further advised to keep gas tanks at least two-third filled and to always travel with a first-aid kit as well as a charged cellular telephone, ensuring access to help in case of a breakdown — if they need to go out at all.

It’s not a bad time to check on your car, either.

Phil May, service manager at Schimmer GM in Mendota, suggested getting a battery test, as cold weather could impede a weak or aged battery from starting your car. Savvy motorists should also check fluid levels, including windshield washer — road salt can quickly impair visibility — as well as fluids to keep the heater running. And don’t forget to kick the tires.

“You lose a half to 1 pound of pressure in tires for every 10 degree drop,” May said. “When you get to zero (degrees), you could have a problem.”

Laurie Loger, manager of Eastside Shell in La Salle, said morning Friday that business was steady and the pre-storm rush for gasoline, milk, bread and other hunker-down necessities had not yet materialized — but it was only a matter of time.

“It hasn’t begun yet, but I’m guessing tonight (Friday) and tomorrow,” Loger said.


Tom Collins can be reached at (815) 220-6930 or courtreporter@newstrib.com. Tamara Abbey can be reached at (815) 539-5200 or Mendota@newstrib.com.












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