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DeKalb County, get out shovels and 
snow boots

Ken Elliott, co-owner of Made Just For You Gifts in Sycamore, tosses down some salt after shoveling outside of his store Thursday.
Ken Elliott, co-owner of Made Just For You Gifts in Sycamore, tosses down some salt after shoveling outside of his store Thursday.

Update 9:43 a.m: ComEd spokesman Paul Callighan says 36 customers are without power in DeKalb County. ComEd crews worked to restore power to 4,700 people since the storm began.

Originial story begins here: DeKalb School District 428 Superintendent Jim Briscoe figured many students would like a snow day on the last day before the holiday break.

“I suspect that unless there’s a whiteout or some real serious black ice, that’s not going to happen,” Briscoe said Thursday afternoon. “In other words, I’d tell all the kids to get their snow boots out.”

The real decision on whether the weather warranted a day off school wasn’t made until early this morning, though.

Briscoe said he planned to consult snow plowers, bus drivers, and other superintendents.

The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning Thursday for DeKalb County, as well as counties to its west and south, until midnight. Six to nine inches were possible, with one or two inches an hour accumulating in the early evening, according to the National Weather Service.

By 7:20 p.m. Thursday, the service had received reports of 2 to 2.5 inches of snow in Rockford, with winds gusting up to 37 mph at O’Hare International Airport and 35 mph in Rockford, National Weather Service meteorologist Ed Fenelon said. He expected another band of snow would hit DeKalb around 9 or 10 p.m. Thursday.

Temperatures are expected to peak today around freezing, Fenelon said.

The service also expected strong winds with gusts up to 45 mph into this afternoon.

By 7 p.m. Thursday, 1,936 ComEd customers were without power in DeKalb County, ComEd spokesman Paul Callighan said. There were eight outages affecting 638 customers in Cortland – which is about a third of the town, he said.

ComEd crews were working staggered 16-hour shifts so help was available around-the-clock to address the outages, Callighan said.

Local highway departments were armed and ready to battle the wintery weather, too..

DeKalb County Engineer Nathan Schwartz’s 13-plow crew expected to plow until 9 p.m. Thursday, sleep, and hit the routes again at 3 a.m. so they would have completed a full pass by the morning rush hour. Around 6 p.m. Thursday, they found slushy, but not overly slick roads, Schwartz said.

The drivers are experienced with their routes, so they are familiar with the areas that tend to experience drifting and need extra attention, Schwartz said.

“We can’t be everywhere at the same time, so of course everyone needs to use their winter weather driving,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sycamore had 14 snow plows that can spread salt, five pick-up trucks with plows and other machinery to handle the snowfall, Public Works Director Fred Busse. They anticipated being out until midnight or later, while DeKalb crews expected to be out all night.

Mark Espy, DeKalb’s assistant director of public works, planned to have 16 large trucks circulating the city’s main roads first and then subdivisions starting Thursday afternoon.The winds could cause drifting that makes three to six inches of snow feel like a foot. He expects crews will he working over night.

“It’ll be an all-night thing,” Espy said Thursday. “They’re saying the snow is supposed to start around 4 or 5 p.m. The bulk of the precipitation will be over, but the wind will still be going.”

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