VILLA PARK – The first week of 2014 came with snow storms, record-setting low temperatures, school closures, icy roads, stranded motorists and constant headaches for local road crews and first responders.
"We were finally able to put salt down [Wednesday] that started breaking up the [ice]," said Rich Salerno, Villa Park Public Works Streets and Forestry superintendent. "Typically road salt only works to about 15 degrees above zero."
Two snow storms – one from Dec. 31 to Jan. 2 and a second from Saturday to Sunday – were followed by a Polar Vortex, which was responsible for temperatures plummeting well below zero degrees. The extreme cold caused area districts, including DuPage High School District 88 and District 45, to cancel school Monday and Tuesday.
Aside from public works crews and residents, local businesses felt the sting of the icy temperatures, as well.
Josephine's Martini & Wine Bar, 207 S. Villa Ave., closed Monday due to the extreme cold, bartender Geneine Peterson said.
"It was just too cold and we didn't want to take the chance that employees wouldn't be able to start their cars," Peterson said.
With a warmup expected this weekend, including highs near 40 degrees, Peterson said the bar is expecting good business.
"I think a lot of people have had cabin fever and we're hoping they will come out," she said.
Russ Gazzano, owner of La Tosca, 123 E. St Charles Road, said the cold weather kept people away for a couple days. The restaurant closed Sunday morning and opened in the evening for carry out and delivery. La Tosca is closed Mondays and was back to normal business Tuesday.
Gazzano agreed that a shift to warmer temperatures is a good sign.
"Absolutely, I think that will bring everyone out," he said.
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By the numbers
Rich Salerno, Villa Park Public Works Streets and Forestry superintendent, breaks down the numbers associated with the extreme winter weather.
19: Inches of total snowfall reported in Villa Park during the two snow storms, 11 inches in the first storm and 8 more over the weekend
-13: Lowest temperature reported in Villa Park
200: Tons of road salt used in Villa Park during the two snow storms, 150 tons in the first storm and 50 tons during the weekend
12: Hours per shift for public works crews; 7 public works employees were scheduled per shift
9: Fleet vehicles used by public works, including front-end loaders