DeKALB – Some DeKalb County residents can stay cozy in their homes and avoid the frigid temperatures, but Patrick Heisner is not that lucky.
The Esmond resident had 200 cows depending on him for food and water Monday, forcing him to venture outside multiple times.
"The main thing is not to stay outside for too long," Heisner said. "You dress warmer, and if you have something that's going to take you an hour, you break it up."
Although temperatures aren't expected to be much warmer today, local authorities are relaxing their requests that DeKalb County residents stay indoors. DeKalb County buildings will be open today, although all local public schools had canceled class for today by Monday evening.
"Travel can be resumed as long as people remain cautious and as long as people understand that drifting will occur, especially in the rural areas, and some areas may have icy patches," said DeKalb County Sheriff Roger Scott, reminding drivers to slow down based on road conditions.
A fatal crash south of DeKalb
The DeKalb County Sheriff's Office has been busy with traffic calls since conditions started to deteriorate Sunday, including a crash on Route 23 north of Perry Road that killed 67-year-old Terry Gile, of DeKalb.
Gile, of the 10400 block of Perry Road, was driving his Ford Expedition south on Route 23 about 5 p.m. when a northbound Dodge pickup spun on the ice in front of him. The pickup spun so it stopped in the southbound lane facing south, and Gile's Expedition rear-ended it, according to a news release from the sheriff's office.
Gile and a passenger in the pickup, Lora Olson, 42, of DeKalb, were taken to Kishwaukee Hospital in DeKalb, where Gile died a short time later, police said. The pickup's driver, Patricia Fisher, 45, of DeKalb, was not injured.
Sherrif's police also responded to an accident Sunday afternoon when a 16-year-old driver from DeKalb forced three cars into a ditch on Route 38 as she tried to pass a snow plow, according to a news release.
After an accident, if vehicles are moveable, drivers should find a place off the road to pull over and then call local law enforcement, Sheriff's Chief Deputy Gary Dumdie said. If no one is injured and the response time is lengthy, drivers do not have to stay at the scene.
"As long as they contact the police agency, that's the important part," Dumdie said. "They can leave their number with our dispatch center and exchange information for the report to be filed later."
Local road crews still working
Among those who can't avoid the cold are the people trying to keep roads safe.
T.J. Moore, DeKalb's public works director, said his crews are trying to cut down on the snow drifts, but because of how quickly conditions can change, the best thing for area residents to do is to avoid driving or use cation when they do.
"This is a very, very challenging environment," Moore said. "The vehicles don't want to work, your hands don't want to work, salt doesn't work. It's miserable."
Additionally, Waste Management is continuing its regularly scheduled pickups this week.
Northern Illinois University meteorologist Gilbert Sebenste echoed some local and state law enforcement officials' call for people to avoid going outside until later in the week.
"If you break down between now and Wednesday, you are putting yourself in a very dangerous situation," he said Monday. "Exposure could cause frostbite and hypothermia. People should stay out of the cold."
Actual temperatures today will hover around zero. The wind will diminish somewhat in the morning, Sebenste said, but will return by the afternoon, making temperatures feel as if they are between minus 25 and minus 30. Tonight temperatures will fall between minus 5 and minus 10, with the windchill continuing to make it feel 15 to 20 degrees colder.
The brutal temperatures and wind will last until Wednesday when things will start to warm up to about 15 degrees. Sebenste said by Thursday temperatures will reach into the 20's.
As of Sunday, this winter entered the top 10 coldest in recorded history and January is on track to be one of the coldest ever, Sebenste said.
Cold weather phenomenon
The frigid temperatures Monday morning caused a phenomenon known as a sun dog to appear in the DeKalb County sky.
A sun dog, or false sun, is a reflection of light from ice crystals floating around the air. Sun dogs can be created when ice crystals and light interact in a cirrus cloud, according to Sebenste.
"Its kind of like an ice rainbow," Sebenste said.
Although sun dogs are a pretty common sight, appearing around once a week, to see one because of the cold is not very common at DeKalb's latitude, Sebenste added.
• Sycamore Child Care
• Salvation Army Food Pantry in DeKalb
• Once Upon A Time Child Care in Sycamore
• The Kishwaukee Sunrise Rotary
• The Center for Family Health in Malta
• The Family Service Agency in DeKalb
• Sycamore Park District offices, programs and community center
• The Voluntary Action Center in DeKalb will be providing limited service today. The VAC will operate its Green Line, Blue Line and Para-transit transportation in DeKalb and Sycamore only until 6 p.m. Limited Med VAC service will be available, but the Meals on Wheels and Senior Luncheon programs are canceled.
See www.daily-chronicle.com for a full list of local cancellations.