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Enough already: Southland commuters grapple with winter

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Updated: February 23, 2014 6:23AM



Winter-weary commuters huddled under the heaters at the Homewood Metra station early Tuesday and wished for summer, as they faced another bout of arctic temperatures and lake effect snow.

David Salter also wished he had a “job down the street” from his Hazel Crest home rather than face his typical 90-minute commute — and that’s on a good day.

He already had called his boss to warn him that he was running late to his new job near O’Hare Airport.

“I’m hoping to get there in under two hours,” he said. “I’m a summer baby. I like the warm weather.”

“I am very tired of it,” said Lucy McDaniel, who was late for her usual 6:04 a.m. train because of rough road conditions between Homewood and her home in Lansing.

She was not the only one who missed the earlier train, as south suburbanites had to dig their vehicles out of the snow in single-digit temperatures before heading to work.

“This is unbearable because of the amount of snow and the arctic cold behind it,” said Leland Wilkerson, of Homewood, who monitored the weather alerts on his cellphone. “The older I get, the harder it is to handle.”

He also dealt with the added stress of allowing his 16-year-old son to drive himself to his 6 a.m. batting practice at Homewood-Flossmoor High School for the first time. His son called him to let him know he arrived safely.

“I got a lot going on this morning. And after a long commute home tonight, I have to shovel the driveway. I can’t wait,” Wilkerson said.

Commuters at the Homewood station also were grateful that new heaters were installed this year in the warming shelter on the platform, where many waited for their morning trains.

“Every day, I think, ‘I’m ready for summer,’ ” said Tristan Horowitz, of Homewood.

While northwest Indiana was socked with snow, Southland towns avoided any major accumulation.

Chicago Ridge Mayor Chuck Tokar said there were no problems to report and roads were clear.

“I don’t know how they could do much better,” Tokar said of the public works department.

Oak Lawn didn’t have any major problems, Police Division Chief Michael Kaufmann said.

“There were some traffic-related issues, minor crashes, but nothing of significance. It was the typical snowy day,” he said. “This winter, we’ve got a while to go yet.”

Bitterly cold wind chills between minus-10 and minus-20 degrees were possible overnight Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service. Temperatures on Wednesday and Thursday also will be near zero and wind chills as cold as minus-20 to minus-25 degrees are forecast, meteorologists said, and there will be periodic chances for snow the rest of the week.

By Friday, highs in the area are expected to climb to 24 degrees, falling to 15 at night, forecasts show.

Contributing: Sun-Times Media Wire, Steve Metsch



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