Water froze on E. Pearl St. for 5 blocks down to the north entrance to Eastland Jr./Sr. High School
Water Mains Succumb to Polar Vortex
By TOM KOCAL | Prairie Advocate News
LANARK – The pressure was on Wednesday morning, January 8. Not water pressure, but on the City of Lanark Maintenance Department to fix not one, but two water main breaks.
It was cold enough last week with well-below freezing temperatures throughout Northwest Illinois. But the Polar Vortex that was responsible for sub-zero temperatures Sunday night, Jan. 5 through Tuesday morning, Jan. 7 affected more than car batteries and frozen cheeks.
Maintenance Supervisor Les Guenzler estimates that the first main broke at the corner of S. High and E. Pearl Streets around 10:00 p.m. Tuesday night.
“From the amount of ice that built up for 5 blocks down to School Drive, it looks like it broke shortly after the City
With supervisor Les Guenzler in the hole, maintenance crew Tom Difazzio (left) and Denny Johnson are ready to assist. Guenzler said the frost line was over 2 ft. deep.
(PA photos/Tom Kocal)
Council meeting,” Guenzler said. “The other main, in the 200 block of E. Pearl, broke over night. But at least the water from that break is running down the gutter into the storm sewer and not icing up the street.”
The water from High St. ran down the north side of Pearl, washing out 3 to 4 feet of snow piled up from the recent snowfalls. But as it froze in the 16-degree below zero temperatures, water crossed over to the south side of Pearl down 5 blocks to School Drive. It was a slushy, icy mess for a few hours, but fortunately, there were no mishaps.
High St, was fixed by 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, and Guenzler said the other break would be repaired that same afternoon.
The extreme cold extended Christmas vacation for every school in the area through Tuesday. Classes resumed Wednesday. Many area businesses shut their doors early Monday and Tuesday, not only because of the cold, but high winds created -40 degree wind chill factors with drifting snow blocking many roadways. Travel was dangerous, and not recommended.