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Winter’s bite felt across Sauk Valley

Whiteside County Health Department has moved its drive-up COVID-19 Shield-Illinois testing indoors for Wednesday and for the remainder of the week.

Arrivals should still enter the northwest parking lot in Rock Falls and follow the cones to the testing tent. Individuals will need to enter the tent to provide saliva samples; staff will not walk to each vehicle. Appointments are still required.

The shift in testing procedures was just one of the side effects from the bitter cold and blowing snow that hit northern Illinois on Wednesday.


On Wednesday afternoon, the Rock Falls Police Department issued an alert about Buell Road from the south city limits north toward Route 30 experiencing heavy drifting.

“Crews are trying to keep up and keep the road clear but until the winds subside, conditions will continue to be less than ideal,” said a news release issued by police Chief David Pilgrim. “Please exercise caution or use alternative routes.”

Blowing snow was constant along north-south Illinois Route 26. Drifts were encroaching on the west-facing lanes. Low-lying bridges were snow covered. Plows were out.

Blowing snow was curling atop the roadway along Route 2 between Sterling and Dixon, but there was no accumulation of drifts.

The National Weather Service station in the Quad Cities issued a patchy black ice advisory for motorists in northwest Illinois.

School cancellations

Dixon Public Schools called off class on Wednesday because of the blowing and drifting snow.

This was to be the district’s return from the holiday break. Only a half-day of classes had been scheduled.

The district said later in the day that classes would resume on Thursday.

DPS offered free COVID-19 rapid testing on Tuesday to facilitate the return.

Rock Falls District 13 schools (PreK to 8) called off classes, as well.

Sterling Public Schools were not in session because it was still on a winter break.

Rock Falls High School, which started its spring semester on Monday, also canceled classes.

Newman Central Catholic in Sterling said it was calling off classes. All extra-curriculars were scrubbed, including boys basketball games against Morrison and a wrestling meet at Erie-Prophetstown.

Meals on Wheels

Lifescape said it would be unable to deliver Meals on Wheels to patrons in Lee and Ogle counties. Deliveries in Winnebago and Boone counties are unaffected. Customers in Lee and Ogle are urged to use their emergency meal.

Lifescape urged people to check on older adults in their lives. Make sure they are safe and equipped for the weather.


The forecast for the Sauk Valley on Wednesday called for temps around 10 degrees and wind chills at minus 15 degrees. Winds will continue to blow 20 to 30 mph with gusts at 45 mph.

Wednesday evening the low will drop to zero. On Thursday, the high will be near 9 degrees. Wind chills will still be in the minus 15 degrees as northwest winds will push across the region at 10 to 15 mph. The low on Thursday will be minus 9 degrees with wind chills down to minus 20.

Warming will begin Friday. Mostly sunny skies will raise daytime temperature to 11 degrees.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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