Winter storms on New Year's Eve and Jan. 4 dumped the lion's share of between 21 and 23 inches worth of snow that fell on Highland Park and Deerfield – something that led to tons of salt being used and thousands of gallons of de-icing liquid.
Officials kept tally of man hours of snow plowing and salt spreading.
At Deerfield's Jan. 6 village board meeting, Barbara Little, director of public works and engineering, said by then road crews had gone through 500 tons of road salt, 2,500 gallons of fuel and 2,000 gallons of de-icing liquid.
Nearly 1,600 man hours were spent clearing all the snow and ice in the village's streets, sidewalks and common areas, shopping areas and the train station.
"We finished piling up the snow in the parkways after the first storm just in time for the second storm," Little said.
Mayor Harriet Rosenthal noted that village crews – many of whom she said cancelled their holiday travel – "did a yeoman's job."
In Highland Park, management analyst Karen Berardi issued a Jan. 7 report explaining that the city had used approximately 1,500 tons of salt and had another 3,200 tons on reserve for future operations.
Berardi's report also said that police conducted 10 well-being checks and the fire department responded to more than a dozen requests to have water shut off as a result of frozen pipes.
Residents were advised to let water drip to avoid pressure building, which could lead to burst pipes.
The report further advised that with 120 miles of public sidewalk, priority cleaning would be for high pedestrian traffic areas, typically around train stations, schools, the Central and Ravinia business districts, parking garage entrances and public facilities.
Highland Park asks residents to clear sidewalks and pavement on their properties, which are not cleared by the city. Residents have been asked to report any damage done by city plows so repairs can be done in the spring.
Neither Highland Park nor Deerfield reported any really serious water main breaks that might have necessitated breaking up pavement.
Bob Phillips, assistant director of public works in Deerfield, said late last week when the extreme cold hit that "we can only assume water main breaks are going to be an issue.
"Water mains can break at any time, but the majority take place in the winter, but for a dozen different reasons," he said. "Sometimes the waters recede and the earth dries out and falls back away from the main, causing it to break."
Deerfield has 15 pieces of plow and removal equipment and 30 employees.
When blizzards strike, said Phillips, "our employees are either running equipment or they're home resting for six or eight hours. We swap people out. Anyone not resting is working."
Phillips said the city has "an ample supply of salt and a few hundred tons on order".
After salt is put down, liquid mixtures can be used to reactive it days later.
Phillips said Deerfield uses liquid calcium and salt brine to make salt adhere to pavement, especially on pavement with icing issues, such as bridge surfaces.
Follow-up work after streets have been plowed and salted includes clearing ice and slush away from storm sewers so that melting snow has a place to go and does not have a damming effect.
Last weekend, the National Weather Service issued an alert for Lake County and the Chicago suburbs warning that melting snow and rain might create flooding throughout the area, followed by dropping temperatures and high winds that would create dangerously icy conditions for pedestrians and vehicles.
The weather, though, didn't turn out to be quite as serious as feared.
Ramesh Kanapareddy, Highland Park's director of public works, said "we did have a few street flooding calls on Friday afternoon, but we had staff work until midnight to address all the calls."