Judiciary

Snow Holiday to Extend Through Thursday at Cook County Courts After Chicago Blizzard


A snow holiday today will extend through tomorrow at Cook County Circuit Court following a major blizzard in Chicago, announces a notice on the circuit’s website.

“Due to inclement weather, by an order of Chief Judge Timothy Evans, the Circuit Court and the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court will be closed on Wednesday and Thursday, February 2nd and 3rd,” it states.

However, Central Bond Court in Chicago will be open Feb. 3, the Associated Press reports.

Suburban branch courts in Bridgeview, Markham, Maywood, Rolling Meadows and Skokie, as in Chicago, will also be closed on Feb. 3.

At last report, it appeared from a notice on the Northern District of Illinois website that federal courts in Chicago and Rockford may be open tomorrow although they were closed today. Electronic filing is still possible, even if the courthouse is closed, according to the notice.

Similarly, a message on the Illinois Courts website says that “the Supreme Court Building, in Springfield, including the Offices of the Clerk, Library & Research Department will be closed [Feb. 1] at 2:00 P.M. and closed Wednesday, February 2nd” but makes no mention of court closings tomorrow.

After the third-biggest snowfall on record stalled hundreds of motorists on the city’s Lake Shore Drive for up to 12 hours or more between Tuesday and Wednesday, hundreds of stranded vehicles continued to block the major thoroughfare throughout the work day today. Officials vowed to work overnight to try to clear Lake Shore and reopen it to traffic by Thursday, Feb. 3, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Icy conditions reportedly combined with more than 20 inches of snow, and after a number of spinouts, the road was blocked. It was not closed to traffic until 8 p.m. Tuesday, leading some to criticize city officials for not acting more swiftly. Ray Orozco, who serves as chief of staff to Mayor Richard Daley took responsibility for the decision at a news conference today, saying that he had felt it was important to try to keep the road open to avoid blocking emergency vehicles.

He acknowledged that Lake Shore is unlikely to be open for rush hour tomorrow morning unless the pace of clearance picks up significantly.

White-outs, wind gusts of up to 70 mph and drifting snow added to the difficulty of keeping Lake Shore open, along with the high waves that led to the ice buildup, the newspaper notes.

“In 31 years with the city, I haven’t experienced anything like we did last night,” says Orozco. “We saw normal snow conditions, and the road was still passable. It was slow, but it was passable. Then we had those cascading events.”

Low temperatures could drop as far as 15 degrees below zero tonight, the coldest Chicago weather in two years, notes another Chicago Tribune article.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Chief Judge Now Says Cook County Courts Will Be Closed Wednesday Due to Blizzard”

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