No school Monday at Fox Valley schools as arctic blast arrives
By Kalyn Belsha firstname.lastname@example.org January 26, 2014 1:44PM
A woman crosses the street at Broadway and Clark in Lakeview on Sunday. | Alex Wroblewski/Sun-Times
Updated: February 28, 2014 6:25AM
AURORA — The Fox Valley braced for the next round of dangerously cold weather, closing schools and opening warming shelters.
West Aurora and East Aurora schools and offices announced they will be closed Monday due to the predicted cold weather, along with schools in Yorkville 115, Batavia 101, Geneva 304, Oswego 308, Kaneland 302 and Fox Valley Career Center, St. Charles District 303 and Aurora Christian schools.
At West Aurora, there will be no Durham transportation for special education students who attend private facilities. The missed school day will be made up at the end of the year.
All East Aurora after-school activities and committee meetings are canceled. Custodial and maintenance staff will report on Monday to monitor East Aurora building conditions.
East Aurora officials said they will continue to monitor conditions to decide if schools will remain closed Tuesday, in which case a phone blast would be sent out to families in English and Spanish.
Second-quarter report cards that were scheduled to be sent home with East Aurora students on Monday will be delivered once school resumes.
In Oswego School District 308, all meetings, events and programs are cancelled, and schools, offices and buildings will be closed Monday. In addition, the District 308 Facilities and Planning Advisory Committee meeting scheduled for Monday evening is cancelled. Any updates will be posted to the district website at www.oswego308.org.
Three weeks ago, the districts canceled school due to the weather — on Jan. 6-7 — when the area was hit by a “polar vortex” that sent temperatures plummeting to double-digit subzero readings.
The National Weather Service issued a 48-hour wind chill warning from 3 a.m. Monday to 9 a.m. Wednesday. Wind chill values can drop to as low as 45 degrees below zero, officials said, and frostbite and hypothermia can occur within minutes.
The area also was under a winter weather advisory until 6 a.m. Monday, with “near-blizzard conditions” possible Sunday night — from gusty winds creating significant blowing and drifting of snow, along with some added snowfall — particularly in rural areas, the weather service said.
To assist residents in need during the severe cold period, the city of Aurora reopened its temporary 24-hour warming center Sunday. The Aurora Transportation Center, at 233 N. Broadway, is to be open around the clock and doubling as a warming center beginning at 10 p.m. Sunday and continuing through noon on Thursday.
In addition to the 24-hour warming center at the transportation center, Aurora has eight additional warming centers:
Aurora Public Library-Main, 1 E. Benton St.: Monday-Thursday (9 a.m.-9 p.m.); Friday-Saturday (9 a.m.-5 p.m.); Sunday (1 p.m.-5 p.m).
Aurora Public Library –Eola, 555 S. Eola Road: Monday-Thursday (9 a.m.-9 p.m.); Friday-Saturday (9 a.m.-5 p.m.); Sunday (1 p.m.-5 p.m.).
Aurora Public Library –West, 233 S. Constitution Drive: Monday-Thursday (9 a.m.-9 p.m.); Friday-Saturday (9 a.m.-5 p.m.); Sunday (1 p.m.-5 p.m.).
Eola Community Center, 555 S. Eola Road: Monday-Friday (8 a.m.-8:30 p.m.); Saturday (8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.).
Hesed House, 659 S. River St.: seven days per week (7 a.m.-7 p.m.).
Prisco Community Center, 150 W. Illinois Ave.: Monday-Friday (8 a.m.-8:30 p.m.); Saturday (8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.).
Salvation Army, 437 E. Galena Blvd.: Monday-Friday (10 a.m.-4 p.m.).
Vaughan Athletic Center, 150 W. Illinois Ave.: Monday-Friday (8 a.m.-8:30 p.m.); Saturday (8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.).
Sunday evening, Kane County sheriff’s officials warned about hazardous travel conditions because of the weather.
“Roads in western Kane County are now experiencing significant blowing and drifting of snow,” sheriff’s Lt. Pat Gengler said in a news release just before 7:30 p.m. “The new accumulation combined with the high winds are creating whiteout conditions and hazardous travel. Only travel if it is an emergency. For those who must travel plan ahead, stay on main roads, charge your cellphone before you leave, have a complete emergency kit in your car and make sure your gas tank is full. In these conditions, it may take a significant amount of time for help to arrive should you become stranded.
“Reports from our patrol supervisor (are) he is surprised at how many cars are out in these conditions,” Gengler stated. “Sheriff Perez encourages motorists to please listen to these warning and limit their travel. The sheriff’s office will attempt to provide updates on its Facebook page over the next few hours.”
Illinois State Police cautioned motorists to avoid unnecessary travel Sunday, as blowing snow was creating areas of zero visibility on some roads.
Snowdrifts were making for particularly hazardous conditions in Will, Grundy and Kendall counties, including Interstate 57 and Interstate 55 south of Interstate 80, state police said.
Wind gusts of up to 35 mph were creating problems on Interstate 57 in Kankakee, Iroquois and Ford counties as well, police said.
Other areas experiencing significantly reduced visibility and dangerous ice include Illinois routes 47 and 17, as well as any secondary roadways bordered by open areas, which police said are prone to drifting conditions.
Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.