ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- We're starting to see the remnants of last night's storm, as hundreds remain without power, others without transportation, after waiting hours to be rescued from stranded cars.
US 20 in Lena is now back open, after more than 80 cars and 140 people were stranded in a blizzard, that fire fighters compare to 2011's storm.
"We didn't use a lot of common sense, in fact we were running on E so we alternated, on off on off and to stay warm.”
Ricky Ricketts and his family, including two children under six, spent several hours on the side of the road, before being rescued by emergency crews and taken to the Lena Fire Department for the night.
He was on his way to galena from Chicago. “I had never heard about Lena before but I thank God for them,” Ricketts said.
In yesterday’s blizzard, the safest form of transportation was by snowmobile, since the highway was too dangerous for even emergency vehicles to pass through.
"We shuttle people on sleds from their cars to get them to get them to somewhere warm. I enjoy helping people in anyway I can.”
Grant Olson isn't an official emergency responder, he's responding as a community volunteer, spending hours pulling out cars, even directing traffic.
Limited man-power had the Lena community working together to dig strangers out of the storm.
Stranded drivers spent the night in four make shift shelters, and neighbors shared their extra blankets.