Bracing for winter weather in Pope County - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Bracing for winter weather in Pope County

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GOLCONDA, Ill. -- The fall landscape in Pope County could dramatically change to snow and ice if winter weather hits southern Illinois this week.

Use common sense. That's the best advice Pope County Sheriff Jerry Suits can offer to people driving through the county if severe winter weather comes Wednesday night.

"It seems like people don't get prepared until after the first snow," said Suits. "And then they get to thinking, 'Well, maybe I should've had a better [car] battery…a set of tires…maybe I should have put that coat on this morning.'"

The county is ready for the first major snowfall of the season, complete with a fully-staffed crew to plow the roadways and lay down salt.

"They're experienced. They know what needs to be done. We feel good about it every year," said the sheriff.

Sheriff Suits said drivers should slow down. Give yourselves more time to drive from one place to the next, and bring extra layers in your car in case you break down or get into an accident.

And with snow, comes snow days. Pope County District Assistant Superintendent Ryan Fritch said they're anticipating a day off from school Thursday. The district will likely make that decision Wednesday evening.

"With all the forecasts that are out there right now everything is pretty well in agreement that something is going to happen Thursday," said Fritch.

He said keeping students safe is always most important.

"We have so many rural roads since we're such a large county school," said the superintendent. "If the roads aren't safe at all we just don't travel."

If you need help during snowfall, Sheriff Suits is a phone call away.

"A lot of people here in Pope County have my own personal cell and they're welcome to call me and we'll get them some help," he said.

Winter weather can also be strenuous on your heart. If you are shoveling, or pushing a heavy snow blower, that can increase your blood pressure and heart rate to dangerous levels. 

Property owners should consult their doctors before clearing away snow.

Sheriff Suits says to call 911, or the Pope County Sheriff's Department at (618) 683-4321 if you have a winter weather-related emergency.

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