La Salle County Board Chairman Jerry Hicks, D-Marseilles, followed suit with Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn's decision to issue a preemptive weather disaster area declaration for the state, declaring one for La Salle County.
The declaration will help qualify the county for available funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Hicks said the county's response to the storm was a coordinated effort by the sheriff's office, highway department and Emergency Management Agency.
Hicks' decision came Tuesday afternoon, about the same time he ordered the county buildings to shut down at 1:30 p.m. through Wednesday.
Hicks said the county reached out to Bill Walsh Automotive and received the loan of two four-wheel-drive vehicles.
The county also coordinated with local snowmobilers who agreed to assist in case emergency medical supplies were needed or stranded motorists needed help getting to safe locations.
Streator officials Wednesday asked residents to be patient as they continue to deal with the aftermath of the blizzard.
"We are proceeding according to our plan to remove the snow,"Mayor Jimmie Lansford said. "Because of the magnitude of the snow and the winds it will probably be the end of the day tomorrow (before all the streets are clear). So we're working from the main arteries out to the secondary streets."
Lansford added that additional winds could affect the timeframe for street openings.
City Manager Paul Nicholson said that Public Works crews, who have been plowing around the clock, would probably need a break later in the day and the city would likely add a private contractor for additional assistance in alleys and side streets.
"We are into the secondary roads, however, in most cases there is a single pass that will get us through until tomorrow, when we will have the whole grid system open,"Nicholson said.
"Pursuant to the declaration of emergency, it's really critical for people to understand that this is going to take some time, and people who don't need to go out, should stay inside,"he said.
Nicholson added there are volunteers with four-wheel-drive available to help residents who must get out for non-medical emergencies. These residents should call central dispatch at 815-672-3111 to make arrangements.
Lansford said the American Red Cross warming center located at the Salvation Army, 126 S. Bloomington St., would likely close at 3 p.m. Wednesday and remain on standby. Lansford stayed at the center Tuesday night and no residents needed shelter. If any resident needs shelter, they may call 815-672-3111 and central dispatch will make arrangements to get them there.
Nicholson said Waste Management garbage pickup will be pushed back one day for the rest of the week. Normal Wednesday pickup will be on Thursday. Normal Thursday pickup will be on Friday and normal Friday pickup will be on Saturday. Waste Management pickup for Ottawa also was pushed back a day.
The Public Action To Deliver Shelter in Ottawa served as a warming center Tuesday. One person stayed the night and it was closed for that purpose on Wednesday. It is still open to the homeless and should someone need to use the shelter for weather-related purposes, a Red Cross volunteer will be notified.
The Ottawa city streets department usually does not plow alleys, but did Wednesday.
By late Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Robert Eschbach said he believed the city's emergency snow plan was running smoothly, but said there's still quite a bit of work ahead.
"Things are in fairly good shape," he said. "People are working through the night."
Eschbach said one pass will be made down alleys. With less snow, alleys are not plowed, because it often does more harm than good, affecting access to garage doors, etc.
Eschbach noted city crews are facing challenges on the city's North Side because of drifting. He said plowing still needed to be done on side streets.
"I think the fact that people stayed off the streets today really helped," he said.