Weather Updates

Dangerous driving conditions in western Kane County

Loose Kanelsign | Denise Crosby~Sun-Times Media

Loose Kaneland sign | Denise Crosby~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 3, 2014 12:57PM

The warnings are going out quickly and often: Roads in western Kane County are experiencing significant blowing and drifting.

The Sheriff’s Department begged people to travel only if it is an emergency as new accumulations of snow combining with high winds were creating whiteout conditions and hazardous travel.

Still, people were heading to grocery stores and filling up at gas stations on Sunday evening, Lt. Pat Gengler said. And the more people there were on the road, the more problems were being created for the sheriff’s deputies and other emergency responders who were trying to keep up with the number of calls.

The warning went out again on Monday morning: Conditions were not going to be any better, especially as the sun went down and people were coming home from work.

“We cannot be more direct than this,” said Gengler. “Travel in western Kane County will be hazardous at best.”

While the roads north of Route 38, and especially north of Route 64, have historically been brutal for travelers because of blowing and drifting snow, Gengler noted that many calls were also coming in from south of Route 38.

Gengler again advised drivers to “leave work early if possible.” And do not venture out “unless you are prepared to get stranded,” he said.

“Travel should take place while it is still light out so people can see the roads. If you made it to work this morning please try to get home before sundown,” he said Monday afternoon.

The sheriff’s department was also urging motorists to stay on main roads; charge cell phones before you leave, have a complete emergency kit in the car and make sure the gas tank is full.

“It could take some time for help to arrive because of the number of calls that are coming in,” he said. And taking these precautions could mean the difference between life and death as temperatures are going to keep plummeting to record lows.

“We are trying to keep up,” he said, “but it is difficult.”

In addition to urging people to limit their travel, Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez encouraged motorists to check out the department’s Facebook page every few hours for updates.

According to some posts, snowdrifts on County Line Road near the DeKalb border were making it “almost impossible” to drive Monday morning. Also, Route 47 had whiteout conditions Monday.

“And it’s only going to get worse,” insisted Gengler.

While roads east of Route 47 are fairly good, further west, there were whiteout conditions in some areas all day on Monday. Areas along Route 47 were cleared, said Gengler, but are now drifting back over, with some down to one lane.

And once these roads become impassable, even “emergency crews may not get to you.”

Some areas, he added are comparable to the high drifts seen in the Blizzard in 2011.

The sheriff’s department is telling the public to prepare for the worst.

“Once roads become impassable even emergency crews may not get to you,” Gengler said. “We realize people will still drive in these conditions and we have even heard people complain about these warnings but the last thing anyone wants is for a tragic situation to happen and a loved one dies in these conditions.”

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