A snow plow works its way up a side street in Waukegan. | Sun-Times Media file
Updated: December 20, 2012 2:45PM
AURORA — Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.
With the first snowfall of the season about to hit, all of Aurora’s vehicles used for removing snow are ready to roll, city spokesman Dan Ferrelli said Wednesday afternoon.
Ferrelli said all of the vehicles have been checked mechanically and have been filled with salt.
“We have personnel constantly keeping a close eye on pavement and air temperatures and would begin salting immediately if needed,” Ferrelli said. “Should we get an inch of snow or less, salt would take care of any accumulation and therefore, plows would not be needed.”
Ferrelli said both of the city’s salt domes are full and there is a 4,000-ton salt pile on the outside of the Central Garage at 725 N. Broadway.
The city has about 40 vehicles at the ready.
“Should contractors be needed, we have access to another 50 vehicles to cover the 34 snow routes consisting of approximately 1,300 lane miles of roadways,” Ferrelli said.
After setting a record for number of days without snow, northern Illinois is expected to get its first accumulating snowfall of the year beginning this afternoon
A winter storm watch has been issued for Kane, Kendall, DuPage, Cook, Lake, Will and Grundy, counties in northern Illinois and for Lake and Porter counties in northwestern Indiana beginning this afternoon and continuing through the night, according to the National Weather Service.
A storm front will move into the area in the afternoon, bringing rain and high winds. Rain will then change to wet snow as the afternoon goes on and temperatures drop, according to the NWS.
Winds will pick up gusting up to 50 mph for the late evening rush hour and snowfall will increase as the night goes on. The NWS warns the combination of high winds and snow will cause drifting and hazardous road conditions.
Because of the impending storm, West Aurora School District middle schools will dismiss early Thursday. The middle schools will be dismissing at 3 p.m., but no other West Aurora schools are scheduled to close early.
Reminders to motorists
Aurora police are reminding residents of the city’s snowfall ordinance which helps keep the streets clear for plows.
The ordinance allows for the ticketing and possible tow of any vehicle parked on a public street or alley during or after a snowfall of two inches or more. Failure to comply can lead to a ticket and vehicle tow that will cost a minimum of $150, plus possible storage and release fees.
City streets and alleyways are not considered plowed until the lane of traffic nearest the curb has been cleared. Last winter, Aurora police towed 55 vehicles and ticketed 1,336 vehicles for snowfall violations.
Winter weather also tends to spike the number of vehicles that are stolen while left running unattended, police noted.
Many people leave their car warming up in the driveway. Police say thieves need just seconds steal these cars. Although it may be inviting to make sure a car is warm, police ask drivers to use common sense and to not leave the vehicle running unattended, whether or not the doors are locked. Even with the doors locked, a window can easily be broken.
Police say stolen cars and trucks are often used in other crimes and many insurance companies will not cover losses due to the negligence of the owner— which could include leaving a vehicle running unattended.
Finally, police are reminding motorists that winter driving requires extra precautions behind the wheel.
Police say simply slowing down in the ice and snow can go a long way in cutting down the number of bad weather crashes. Drivers should pay special attention on bridges, overpasses, and intersections, where slick spots may form. It’s also a good time to make sure a mechanic has checked the car, including the headlights and windshield wipers.
Police also remind motorists to be extra careful around plows. Drivers should stay at least 75 feet behind the plows and never attempt to pass.