Crystal Lake prepared for winter weather

Caption
(Jim Dallke - jdallke@shawmedia.com)
Crystal Lake Superintendent of Streets Larry Zurek stands in front of 3,400 tons of salt that will be used to de-ice roads this year. Crystal Lake has 1,000 tons more salt this year than it normally does thanks to a mild winter in 2011-12.

CRYSTAL LAKE – The winter months have been mild thus far, but Crystal Lake public works officials are prepared when severe winter weather hits.

Larry Zurek, the superintendent of streets in Crystal Lake, said his staff is ready for icy weather, whenever that may be.

“Our 19 trucks are ready to go,” Zurek said. “The plows are on, the spreaders are on .... The guys are prepared and ready for snow.”

Zurek said Crystal Lake uses AccuWeather to project the forecast three weeks in advance. There is a slight chance of snow early Saturday morning and again on Sunday, but there isn't a strong chance of snow predicted in the area for the next three weeks, Zurek said.

Much like last year, McHenry County has seen a warmer than normal winter. Each day this week has seen higher than average temperatures, including 69 degrees on Monday. The average high for this time of year is around 37 degrees.

Last year's mild winter gave Crystal Lake a surplus of salt, Zurek said. Crystal Lake normally has 2,400 tons of salt and this year it has 3,4000 tons. Zurek said he ordered 1,600 tons fewer of salt this year due to the abundance of leftover salt.

The salt surplus is also partly due to the use of Biomelt, Zurek said. Biomelt is an environmentally safe anti-icing fluid used in combination with salt to make the salt more effective.

Zurek said they have 5,000 gallons of Biomelt ready to go when the winter weather strikes. The trucks will begin salting when the roads become slippery, and snow plowing takes place after one-inch of snow accumulation, according to the City of Crystal Lake website. Depending on the size of the storm, snowplowing takes between four to six hours, according to the website.

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