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A windy deep freeze hits the Sauk Valley

Many cars slide off road

Ever get that helpless feeling when your car is stuck?

If so, you would probably understand the plight of many drivers over the last couple of days. With constantly drifting snow, many motorists slid off roads.

Morning commuters might have noticed many cars stuck in snow – seven on Interstate 39 from Rockford to Rochelle and five, including a semitrailer, on Interstate 88 between Rochelle and Dixon.

Red tags adorned most of these cars, indicating the state considers them abandoned – for now.

On the road from Sterling to Freeport, 19 cars were seen off the road Monday morning, most of them nearer Freeport.

On Monday afternoon, the Whiteside County Sheriff’s Department asked that motorists refrain from unnecessary travel until this morning. 

“The county highway department and township road commissioners are attempting to keep the roads clear, but the winds are making this a difficult task,” the department said in a news release.

Area schools closed Monday because of the cold weather, as did Sauk Valley Community College.

Dixon’s city hall and Whiteside County’s courthouses in Sterling and Dixon closed, while Sterling’s city hall and the Lee County Courthouse stayed open. Rock Falls’ city hall closed early at 3:30 p.m.

Whiteside County’s courthouses in Morrison and Sterling shut down because of the cold weather, while Lee County’s did not.

Bitter cold temperatures will remain in the area through this morning, with a combination of cold air and gusty winds, according to the National Weather Service. As the day goes along, though, decreasing winds and gradually rising temperatures will lead to improving conditions.

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