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Post Storm Update

posted Feb 2, 2011, 1:11 PM by Countryside Lake
This week's blizzard has caused significant problems across Lake County. Most of the snow has moved out of Lake County, and winds have decreased, but temperatures are expected to drop rapidly this evening. Lake County Board Chairman David Stolman has proclaimed a State of Disaster in Lake County, and officials are asking all residents to avoid driving through 5:00 p.m. today. The Lake County Division of Transportation reports that the county road network is officially open, but is asking that all unnecessary travel be postponed until after 5:00 p.m. this evening. Many roads and streets remain snow-covered and impassable, with drifts of four to six feet common around the county. The most accurate road closure information is available at www.lakecountypassage.com.
 
Various county, township, and municipal agencies and non-governmental organizations have been working collaboratively around the clock to ensure the safety of people throughout the county. In several locations across the county, multiple vehicles became stranded on or along roads and were subsequently buried by drifting snow. Rescuers have used a combination of four-wheel drive vehicles, heavy construction equipment, specialty fire vehicles, snow plows, and snowmobiles to find and remove people trapped in their vehicles, and more than 200 people have been moved to warmth and safety in several temporary shelter facilities. Fire, EMS, and Township personnel along with Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and Metropolitan Emergency Support Services (MESS) volunteers are providing support in these shelters, including canteen services.
 
Plow trucks and heavy equipment from various departments and agencies are working diligently to clear primary roads and will then move to secondary routes and streets. Multiple plow trucks, squads, and other response vehicles also became trapped during the height of the storm, and recovery of that equipment is still underway. Stranded vehicles are being towed off of roads by contract towing companies with coordination through the Sheriff's Office, so that roads can be plowed and normal traffic flow can be restored.
 
Snow reports from across Lake County average between nineteen and twenty inches of snow, and wind gusts of over fifty miles per hour were reported. No significant precipitation is expected for the next several days, but bitterly cold temperatures and steady wind will lead to wind chills colder than twenty-five degrees below zero tonight.
 
While little or no additional snow is forecast to fall, the storm will continue to present a health risk to people in and around Lake County. According to the National Weather Service, during a similar Chicago-area blizzard in 1999, more than forty people died from heart attacks or overexertion related to shoveling the very deep snow. In addition, as temperatures drop tonight, people working outside are also subject to frostbite and hypothermia.
 
We encourage all citizens to be patient as our communities dig out from the blizzard. Check on friends and neighbors to make sure they're okay, and take your time when clearing your driveway and sidewalk. Be cautious on roads and streets, paying particular attention to sightlines that may be restricted by large snowbanks.
 
Lake County will continue to support our many partner communities, organizations, and businesses across the area. Additional information will be provided Thursday afternoon. 
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