Orland Park Continues Post Blizzard Clean Up

Orland Park Continues Post Blizzard Clean Up
Posted on 02/04/2011

The Village of Orland Park recorded 19.5 inches of snow during the blizzard of 2011, described as the third worst snow storm in Chicago history.

"Technology made a big difference in this storm in comparison to those in '99, '79 and ‘67," said Orland Park Mayor Dan McLaughlin, "The village's crews were ready to go, knowing what was predicted for the area and we were able to communicate regular updates to the community using several means of communication."

Weather safety reminders from the village and the Orland Fire Protection District ran continuously on the village's government access channels.

Updates and road closures were posted on the village's website throughout the storm and subsequent clean up. Website visitors are invited to subscribe to notices using the "notify me" option.

McLaughlin recorded a storm update that was delivered to the village's Code Red Alert System subscribers, urging residents to not travel and the Police Department shared storm related information with its Nixle subscribers.

"The village's plow drivers have asked us to thank the many residents who remembered to not park on the street and to push their driveway snow to their lawns. That made a big difference and the staff was grateful for the residents' cooperation," the mayor added.

Orland Park Director of Public Works Ed Wilmes praised his staff for their efforts during the 34.5 hour blizzard and subsequent clean up that continued on Thursday.

"We had a team performance that began well ahead of the storm," Wilmes said. "Preparation, personal attitudes and a commitment by everyone to understanding expectations were key in the performance put forth by the village's plowing staff," he added.

Crews had been working continuously since midnight on Tuesday, February 1 to battle the storm. Excessive overnight snow totals combined with wind gusts exceeding 50 miles per hour made maintaining open passage throughout the village very challenging.

"We are proud of our employees throughout the year but there are times when they really prove themselves. This was definitely one of those times," McLaughlin said.

As of 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 2, 29 village snow plow crews, seventeen contractor teams and nine pieces of heavy equipment were working to clear the nearly 300 miles of village streets. These crews remained deployed through Thursday, February 3.

From 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday through 5:00 a.m. on Thursday, an almost 40 hour period, all available village staff were engaged in emergency snow removal operations. Crews had operations completed about eighteen hours after the snow stopped falling.

"I compliment our plow drivers, our fleet operations and mechanics, the contractors' performance and our management and clerical support staff," Wilmes said.

Public Works crews continue to clean up the aftermath of the storm, focusing on side streets and cul-de-sacs throughout the village.

"Our crews are still cleaning up from the storm and we remind residents to be sure to clear snow from their outside dryer vents and from ground level high efficiency furnace vents," Wilmes added.

"Many of our village staff weren't born when the 1967 blizzard paralyzed the Chicago area," McLaughlin said. "And, I'm not sure how many of them remember the storms of '79 and '99," he added, smiling.

McLaughlin added, "The blizzard of 2011 will be remembered for the use of technology from start to finish, being able to monitor the radar as the storm approached and being able to share information as everyone worked together to ensure the public's safety."