School is off for at all public schools in the area – closed today and Tuesday – as extremely cold weather continues to hit hard in Kane County.
As of 12:30 p.m., the temperature in St. Charles was at 3 below zero, with a forecast low tonight of 23 below zero, according to the National Weather Service. Tuesday promises more of the same, with a high of 2 below zero and a low of 11 below zero.
Lt. Pat Gengler, the spokesman for the Kane County Sheriff's Department, warns that road conditions, especially west of Randall Road, have become bad because of blowing snow. He said that conditions to the east are better, but those who might be traveling west later in the day should understand that the drive might be difficult.
Gengler said snow drifts in some areas – particularly at Routes 64 and 47, and near Kaneland High School – are as bad as they were during the blizzard of 2011. He said it might take hours for help to arrive, if drivers get stuck in such conditions at night. And with a wind chill of 41 below zero forecast for tonight, he said drivers should take precautions.
"It's going to get really cold, and roadways are covered (with snow) out there," said Gengler, who added that sheriff's department squad cars have been stuck on some roads. "In some areas, you have to back up. You can't go forward any more."
He said north-south roads have been affected the most, because of strong winds coming from the west. He said that conditions are not as bad east of Randall Road, and he said he understands that some people will not heed warnings, but added that "those are the same people who will be wondering what's taking so long to get them." He said the department wouldn't be putting out the warnings unless the conditions were serious.
Gengler said that some people who were stuck last night had abandoned their vehicles on the road or in a ditch. He said some couldn't even tell whether they were on a road or in a field. He urged people to take the warnings seriously and avoid driving if it is not necessary. He said drivers "need to understand that when you call 911, and we say it's going to be an hour, two hours before we get to you, that we are not exaggerating."