Snow hits, crash shuts down Interstate 80
By Bob Okon firstname.lastname@example.org December 14, 2013 11:01AM
Updated: February 13, 2014 4:26AM
Four inches of snow blanketed the area Saturday, making it look a lot like Christmas and leading to one major traffic jam on Interstate 80.
An Interstate 80 accident near LaGrange Road shut down the interstate in both directions for four hours as emergency crews looked into a potential hazardous materials spill. The material turned out to be crushed lime, which authorities determined not to be hazardous. But I-80 was shut down after the accident at 9:45 a.m. and was not repened until 2:10 p.m.
State police said the collision between a semi truck and another vehicle was one of six accidents on local highways from 6 a.m. through the afternoon. Two accidents involved injuries.
Snow blanketed the area Saturday morning, slowing traffic while creating a wonderland for winter lovers. The streets were messy, but plows were out clearing the main arteries, while residents did their best to shovel or snowblow their way out of driveways.
Snowfall reports were as high as 5 inches on the far West Side of Joliet near Kendall County, according to the National Weather Service. But most reports listed snowfall between 3.5 and 4.5 inches.
At noon, the National Weather Service station in Romeoville recorded 3.9 inches of snow. Light snowfall in the afternoon may have pushed the total past 4 inches, said Charles Mott, meteorologist at the weather station.
Other snowfall reports included 4.5 inches near the Joliet post office on McDonough Street, 4.5 inches in Crest Hill, 3.7 inches in Channahon, 3.5 inches in Peotone and 4.1 inches at Midway Airport in Chicago.
The temperature was expected to sink to a low of 2 degrees in the area Saturday night with the wind chill falling below zero. But the weather was expected to begin warming up Sunday.
“The high for tomorrow (Sunday) will be 24,” Mott said. “And there is going to be a slim chance of snow tomorrow evening.”
The nighttime low for Sunday was expected to be 13. Temperatures should warm up early in the week to a seasonal 32 degrees by Tuesday, Mott said.
The snow created few problems on local roads. Sheriff’s police in Will and Grundy counties reported no accidents by mid-morning Saturday. The Joliet Fire Department noted a few accidents on city streets but none of them were serious crashes.
The I-80 accident occurred in the eastbound lanes just west of LaGrange Road. Areas along I-80 and south of the interstate were getting the heaviest snow, according to the National Weather Service.
Visibility was as low as a half-mile at some points.
Contributing: Donna Vickroy