Only high winds, cold temps arrive in Rockford area
You know you’ve dodged a bullet when even the weatherman is glad the forecast is wrong.
Whiteout conditions, three inches of snow. Somewhere in the world, but not here.
That ominous winter storm warning in effect from noon Tuesday to noon Wednesday: Canceled.
“I don’t think anybody is complaining,” National Weather Service meteorologist Gino Izzi said.
Unfortunately, Izzi and other meteorologists at the Service were on target in predicting dangerously high winds producing single-digit temperatures by midnight and sub-zero temperatures by early Wednesday morning.
At 8:34 p.m., the Chicago-Rockford International Airport recorded a wind gust of 48 mph.
Some 400 ComEd customers lost power, 361 in Machesney Park where a tree limb struck power lines in the 9300 block of North Second Street, ComEd spokesman Paul Callighan said. Customers were without power from about 6:50 p.m. to 7:20 p.m.
At 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Rockford Public School District Superintendent Linda
Hernandez said it was too early to tell whether classes would be canceled Wednesday.
Transportation Director Greg Wilson will inspect the roads at 4:30 a.m. Wednesday. Based on the condition of the roads, and the early morning forecast, “we’ll be able to make a decision then,” Hernandez said.
An hour earlier, all Rock Valley College campus activities were closed because of inclement weather, said Suzanne Berger, vice president of institutional advancement.
All scheduled events will be rescheduled.
In the midst of Tuesday afternoon’s weather-related reports, the Boy Scouts announced their annual weeklong “Continuous Fire” celebration will be held at a different location.
Each February, local Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts keep watch over a bonfire for seven days to commemorate the anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America. Traditionally held on the banks of the Rock River in Sinnissippi Park near the “Symbol,” the vigil will be moved to the grounds of Harlem United Methodist Church, 8411 N. Alpine Road, just north of Harlem Road. The unyielding ice jam and threat of flooding on the Rock River poses too much risk to the scouts and the event, said Andy Murray, Boy Scouts district executive for Winnebago and Boone counties.
The Scout Week celebration begins Saturday and runs through Feb. 10.
“The Boy Scout motto ‘Be Prepared’ requires us to have a ‘Plan B’ in a case like this, and we are grateful to Harlem United Methodist for their hospitality,” Murray said.
There were no changes in river levels Tuesday.
The rain arrived in downtown Rockford about 3 p.m., three hours later than anticipated, and quickly changed to sleet, icing over roadways and sidewalks and contributing to a string of accidents throughout Winnebago County.
By mid-afternoon, Rockford and all of northern Illinois began bracing for powerful winds.
“Any residual ponding of water and slushy snow will freeze in place, creating treacherous driving conditions,” the weather service wrote in its winter storm warning.
Forecasters were right on when they predicted thermometer readings plummeting from highs in the upper 40s to closer to zero by midnight. At 9 p.m., the temperature was at 7.
Chicago Department of Aviation spokesman Gregg Cunningham said fog was causing problems at O’Hare Airport as early as 1 p.m. Tuesday. He said 150 flights were canceled and delays were about 30 minutes. Midway Airport reported no delays or cancellations.
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