Snow began falling steadily around 10 a.m. in areas just south of Interstate 80 corridor on Saturday, the lead edge of a winter storm expected to bring four to eight inches of snow to most parts of northern Illinois.
About a inch had fallen in Putnam County by 1:45 p.m. The National Weather Service planned to update snowfall totals at 3 p.m.
It appears winter snow supplies won’t be much of an issue at this point.
Although Tractor Supply in Dixon has been a little low on shovels this season, it is well-stocked with winter gear, like hats, mittens and overalls, and also has a hefty supply of sidewalk and driveway salt, including the kind that’s safe for pets, said Macy Mershon, the store’s team lead.
As of about 1 p.m. Saturday, with about an inch or so of blowing snowfall, New Year’s business still was brisk, she said. The store is closing early, at 6 p.m.
In Menards in Sterling, Mitch Robison, first assistant general manager, also said its stock of winter supplies was good.
“Probably the only thing we’re going to run out of is sand in the tubes,” Robison said, adding that there still are plenty of sandbags, salt and shovels.
Shopping was steady, but so far no big run on any storm-related supplies, he said. Menards is open its regular hours, closing at 9 p.m.
— Kathleen Schultz
By 2 p.m., the line of snow covered roads had reached the eastern edges of DeKalb and La Salle counties. I-39 was experiencing blowing snow from Lee County north. Most sections of I-88 and I-90 are clear.
Earlier, the Illinois Department of Transportation readied its fleet of 1,800 snow plows and other equipment to treat roads in advance of a New Year Day snowstorm.
The heaviest snow would fall between 2 and 8 p.m., a revised Saturday morning forecast said.
Even with road crews working, travel could be hazardous. The light, fluffy snow is subject to 35 mph wind gusts, reducing visibility — especially on east-west roads.
“IDOT crews will be out on the roads, but conditions could still be extremely hazardous, so we encourage motorists to ask themselves if they really need to make the trip,” said Transportation Secretary Omer Osman.
As dawn broke on Saturday, the first snow and sleet had begun to fall in Davenport, Iowa, and Sheffield, according to weather watchers on Facebook.
Parts of northwestern Illinois had been subject to freezing drizzle on Friday night.
Source: The Daily Chronicle