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Snow snarls traffic, adds to winter woes in the Southland

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Updated: March 3, 2014 5:53PM



It could have been worse.

The storm that was predicted to slam the Southland with up to 10 inches of snow by Saturday evening only delivered 5.3 inches at Midway Airport, 5.3 inches near Joliet, 6.2 inches on the north side of Joliet and 5.6 inches in Romeoville, according to the National Weather Service.

“It wasn’t as bad, let’s put it that way,” NWS meteorologist Jamie Enderlen said. “For some people, that’s a good thing.”

Nevertheless, the snow wrecked havoc on travelers, resulting in 350 canceled flights at O’Hare International Airport, 100 canceled flights at Midway Airport and dangerous driving conditions throughout the region. Area police were busy responding to all kind of weather-related traffic accidents from fender-benders on county roads to jackknifed semi trucks clogging up the interstates.

Illinois State Police District 5 Sgt. Scott Angus said all eastbound lanes on Interstate 80 were closed for two hours Saturday between Houbolt and Larkin avenues. He said the closures, which occurred after a call came in about 9:20 a.m., were caused due an overturned semi truck.

Illinois State Police Chicago District Master Sgt. Jason LoCoco said officers responded to about 25 crashes from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. None of the crashes involved major injuries. LoCoco said the only lane closures were due to the tanker truck that flipped over at 5:45 a.m. on the southbound Dan Ryan Expressway at 83rd Street.

Will County sheriff’s police Lt. Steve McGrath said his office had responded to about six minor car accidents in the eastern half of the county.

The snow wasn’t any easier on Southland residents who were digging out of the mess throughout the day.

Mokena resident Taylor Gurley, 56, cleared off sidewalks for his neighbors with his snowblower for 21/2 hours.

“It keeps me active,” Gurley said. “As long as it’s not the wet, sleet-like snow, it’s fine. I love snow, I’m from New Orleans, so it’s cool to see once in a while.”

Steven Natalie, 11 of Mokena, along with his twin brother, Michael, spent some time shoveling. They looked forward to finishing so they could go out and play.

“We shovel left to right,” said Michael. “It should take another half hour and we’ll be done. We’re going sledding, and we’re going to have some snowball fights.”

Jacky Oslowski, 45, of Mokena, was at the sledding hill off Schoolhouse Road in Mokena with her 7-year-old daughter Charlotte. Oslowski said it was nice to be out instead of cooped up in the house because of the recent cold weather.

“I don’t like the snow, but it’s warm out, and it’s fun for the kids. It’s not that bad out,” Oslowski said.

Nolan Miller, 15, was dressed for warmer climates. Even though it was snowing and the temperature was about 31 degrees, the Oak Forest resident wore a short-sleeved “Metallic,” T-shirt and gloves outside his house while he built a snow fort with his friends.

“I’d rather be way cold than way hot, I can’t handle it,” Miller said. “It’s only 31 degrees, so I said, I might as well go without a coat.”

Across the street, Oak Forest resident George Skirha had borrowed his neighbors snowplow to clean off his driveway. The snowplow he bought 15 years ago, which he claims can toss snow up to 40 feet away, was broken.

“It’s a big monster, and I can go through anything with it,” Skirha said.

Skirha said this year’s winter weather reminded him of the science fiction natural disaster movie “The Day After Tomorrow.” depicting global-warming related events that result in a new ice age.

“I’m a little perplexed about why it’s so cold and why it snows so much, unless it’s like they predicted in that movie,” Skirha said.

After the snow, it’s back into the deep freeze for the Chicago area, with the thermometer dipping well below zero early Monday. The high temperature Sunday will be in the mid-teens before the temperature falls to about 8 below zero overnight, according to NWS meteorologist Amy Seeley. Monday’s high is forecast to be 20.

Contributing: Jaime Angio



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