Naperville Prepares for Winter Weather

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Snow might not have hit yet, but behind the scenes, Naperville’s Public Works Department is already hard at work preparing to plow.

“Well, over the last two years we’ve had pretty mild winters, so it’s bound to catch up with us,” said Forestry Supervisor Jack Mitz.

A prediction echoed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA experts predict this year there is a 55 to 65 percent chance of La Niña developing before winter sets in.

That means be on the lookout for wetter-than-average conditions across most of the northern United States.

Jack Mitz of the Naperville Department of Public Works says last year the city used 9,000 tons of the city’s 18,000-ton salt store, but he does not expect it to be that mild every year.

“I mean there’s been years that we’ve used closer to 20,000 tons. That’s why we have the capacity that we have,” Mitz said.

And while most people judge a winter by its snow, Mitz says it’s actually rain freezing on the road that uses the most salt and poses a hidden danger to drivers.

“People have to really slow down,” he said. “You might not think the road’s icy. It may just look wet, but if it’s below freezing, you have to be prepared that it could be icy.”

But will it be more ice or snow? That is something experts say we can’t know.

NOAA experts say while they can make precipitation predictions in advance, snow forecasts are not usually predictable more than a week in advance.

Naperville News 17’s Beth Bria reports.