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Naperville deals with yet another snowfall

The runway adjacent to Naperville's Aero Estates neighborhood just east of Route 59 wasn't busy with flights Saturday afternoon, but snowmobilers were flying acdross the wide open expanses. |  Susan Frick Carlman~Sun-Times Media
Joe Bentham, a snowplow driver for Naperville Township, paused for a few minutes in the Springbrook Prairie Preserve on Naperville's southwest side early Saturday afternoon. He'd been on the job since before daybreak and had no idea how much longer he would remain behind the wheel. "They said it was supposed to stop by 11:30," Bentham said. "But it's still coming down." |  Susan Frick Carlman~Sun-Times Media

The Naperville area is dealing with yet another sizable snowfall, although the forecast now calls for the snow to be off and on for the rest of Saturday afternoon.

In the end, snowfall totals in the area will range from 6 to 8 inches by the end of the day.

“We’re in a period where Chicago is seeing some moderate to heavy snowfall during this burst,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Matt Friedlein. “This particular snow is heavy, and is a bit different than what we experienced during the first week of January.”

Naperville was coping with winter’s latest blast pretty well. As temperatures held steady in the upper 20s, main roadways remained wet but clear on Saturday. Many neighborhood streets were covered with a thin layer of snow, and cul-de-sacs appeared to have been cleared at least once so far.

“Nothing to report,” city spokeswoman Linda LaCloche said in a late morning email, “except for snow falling quickly.”

As of 8:15 a.m. Saturday, airlines at O’Hare International Airport had canceled 350 flights due to winter weather conditions, while 100 flights were canceled at Midway International Airport, the city’s Department of Aviation said.

Warmer temperatures are a result of air pushed up from the Gulf of Mexico, Friedlein said.

This snow is a little bit different than the Alberta Clipper; that was a system that came from Canada,” Friedlein said. “The mix we’re getting now is from the Gulf, which won’t bring the cold air with it.”

Meanwhile, The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for Cook, DuPage, Will, McHenry and Lake counties in Illinois, and Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Jasper and Newton counties in Indiana, in effect until 6 p.m. Saturday.

Illinois State Police are cautioning drivers in the Chicago area that whiteout conditions are possible. Drivers are asked to be aware of black ice and carry emergency supplies in their vehicles.

The Illinois Tollway deployed its full fleet of 182 snow plows and salt spreaders to clear roadways on its 286-mile system, the agency reported. Since the snow began falling Friday night, tollway crews and Illinois State Police have assisted more than three dozen motorists with services such as changing car batteries and calling for tows.

“We are asking our customers to avoid traveling unless it is necessary so our snowplows can more easily clear the roads of snow and ice,” Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur said in a statement.

Illinois State Police also are already cautioning drivers in Will and Kendall counties that whiteout conditions are possible the next few days. Drivers should leave extra travel time and carry emergency supplies in their vehicles.

The Illinois Department of Transportation said it has winter weather crews across the state on standby and motorists should beware of slick and hazardous driving conditions in some areas across the state.

“As this next weather system moves through Illinois, motorists are reminded to use extreme caution when on the roads,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider. “With the high winds expected, blowing and drifting snow will impact visibility, so motorists are encouraged to take it slow, give plow drivers plenty of room, buckle up and avoid distractions.”

Motorists are also reminded of the “Move Over” law. The law, enacted in 2002 and also known as Scott’s Law, requires motorists to slow down and, if possible, change lanes when approaching police, emergency or construction vehicles displaying flashing warning lights.

Drivers are reminded to exercise caution when snow and ice affect roadways, and IDOT advises travel only when absolutely necessary during winter storms or when temperatures are extremely low. During the severely cold weather expected, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security advises that Illinois residents limit exposure to cold temperatures, dress in layers, check in on others who may need additional assistance, keep vehicles in good repair, and bring pets indoors.

For those traveling, check www.gettingaroundillinois.com for the latest winter road conditions and road closures.

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