We'll Hit a Balmy 39 Degrees Friday, But That Presents Some New Concerns

Weather Service says with snow melting, rainfall and frozen ground, there is a potential for flooding.

After a week of 40-below wind chills, Elmhurst residents are ready to exit the deep freeze, and the National Weather Service seems to think we're headed for a major weekend warmup.

But in Elmhurst, flooding is on the mind of residents in the flood-prone areas, especially with all that snow melting—and rain starting on Friday.

The Weather Service issued a hazardous weather outlook for north central Illinois. In addition to slick roads and patchy, dense fog Friday, "Rainfall amounts of 3/4 of an inch to 1 inch are possible Friday afternoon through Friday night. With the rain and warmer weather, there will be an increased potential for rises on area rivers and creeks, as well as ice jam related flooding."

The Weather Service also issued a "hydrologic outlook," which basically reiterates the increased flood potential.

"Light to moderate rain will occur Friday afternoon through early Saturday morning before a transition back to snow occurs by midday Saturday, with all of northeast Illinois and northwest Indiana appearing to be in a favored location for highest rainfall amounts."

Then, there's the "snowpack," which ranges in depth from 6 to 14 inches, and the frost depth of 3 to 9 inches. 

"A combination of snow melt, rainfall and frozen ground may result in rises of area streams with the potential for flooding," according to the outlook.

Click here to check out the forecast into next week

Elmhurst's Public Works crews have been working around the clock cleaning up the 12+ inches of snow that fell before we were attacked by the polar vortex.

And now, they are gearing up again, getting ready for a snow, rain, snow pattern. On Thursday evening, they were spreading salt and clearing drains of snow in areas known to flood, and crews will monitor streets over the weekend to make sure they are draining, according to City Manager Jim Grabowski.

At Monday's City Council meeting, he said the city has already used 2,400 tons of salt this season, and we still have a long way to go. The average amount of salt the city uses for a whole winter is 3,500, "So we're pretty high up there," he said. 

They city bought another 180 tons of salt on Friday, according to a Facebook post by First Ward Alderman Diane Gutenkauf.

Grabowski on Monday asked residents to be patient and drive a little slower while the crews continue to clean up the streets. "We appreciate everyone's patience," he said.

Elmhurst Fire Department also released a warning about thin ice

Know ice colorings meanings. 
  • Light gray to dark black: Melting ice, occurs even if air temperature is below 32°F. Not safe; its weak density can’t hold a load, stay off. 
  • White to Opaque: Water-saturated snow freezes on top of ice forming another thin ice layer. Most times it’s weak due to being porous from air pockets. 
  • Blue to Clear: High density, very strong, safest ice to be on if thick enough. Stay off if less than 4 inches thick.
  • Mottled and slushy or "rotten" ice: Beware not so much its color but its texture. This ice is thawing and slushy. It is deceptive. It may seem thick at the top but it is rotting away at the center and base. Most prevalent in spring, may be showing signs of browns from plant tannins, dirt and other natural materials that are resurfacing from thawing. Not suitable for even a footstep. 
Observe the ice. Is it on a pond, a lake, a stream or is there flowing water underneath it? Is there a flow into or out of the water body? This is cause for concern. 

Understand that ice strength is not the same everywhere, not even on the same body of water. 
Never walk, skate, play on, ski over or snowmobile over ice at night. You won't be able to see, and if something does go wrong, rescue help is much less likely to be around. 
Questions? Call the Elmhurst Fire Department at (630) 530-3090.
Bob Peters January 10, 2014 at 03:05 PM
Just shoveled out the sewers on the street and corners. Don't know how much good it will do though. Preparing to get water in the basement.


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