Below-zero temperatures in eastern Lake County kept schools closed and municipal services bare on Monday after the area was pummeled with snow over the weekend.

Temperatures in Lake Forest dipped to -14 degrees on Monday according to the National Weather Service, and forecasts called for a low of -23 degrees for the area. Libertyville hit -15 degrees on Monday, with a low of -26 degrees.

Foodstuffs, a popular lunch spot in Lake Forest, closed early on Monday. Manager Neal Hesser said the lack of customers and the concern for employees using public transportation to get home were the biggest reason for the limited hours.

He said normally Monday's are an extremely busy day at the restaurant, but because a lot of normal customers were not working, and those who were probably didn't want to face the elements, the restaurant was relatively slow.

"Usually when school is out, we get a lot of kids in here," he said. "They were smart enough to stay home today."

Jesus Escabar, 40, was bundled up as he waited for the Metra train in Lake Forest. Covered with a face mask, thick jacket, hood, hat and heavy-duty winter gloves, Escabar said he was ready to face the bitter cold.

Escabar works in Lake Forest but lives in Waukegan. He said to get home he takes the Metra train, then a bus. When it gets cold, he makes sure he's prepared, he said.

"I check the weather every day," he said. "I'm really prepared for it."

Schools in Libertyville, Lake Forest, Vernon Hills and Lake Bluff were closed due to the extremely cold temperatures.

City spokeswoman Susan Banks said the city also canceled trash collection on Monday because the landfill the city uses was closed. She was unsure whether the trash service would be available on Tuesday. Libertyville also announced on its website that trash collection was delayed. Libraries in both areas were also closed on Monday.

Banks said the city was waiting to determine whether it would cancel the city council meeting scheduled for Monday night.

The cold followed more than three days of snow showers in the area. Lake Forest police Deputy Chief Karl Walldorf said over the weekend police responded to cars sliding off the road, but did not learn of serious accidents. Today, cold temperatures were causing cars to break down on the road, he said.

He said the city has two warming stations that can be opened for the public if needed. He advised anyone needing help to contact police at (847) 234-2601.

The cold hasn't slowed down public works crews in the area. Libertyville Public Works Director John Heinz said the heavy snow the village saw over the weekend has acted as an insulator over the ground, so the extreme cold hasn't penetrated too deeply. However, he said crews have not been able to apply salt to raods because of the cold.

"As long as motorists drive carefully, they should not have a problem," he said. "Most everyone has been understanding of the extreme conditions, we are hoping we avoid snow for a while as the guys have been going almost non-stop for almost a month now."

He predicts the village has gotten at least 20 inches since the New Year's Eve.

In Lake Forest, Public Works Director Michael Thomas said crews are still working 12 hour shifts to clear snow from the streets, and everything is going smoothly. He said crews have been primarily focused on snow removal operations in the central business district, but will started to plow sidewalks and pushing snow further back on the parkways to create a space for any new snow the city could accumulate.

He said snow totals since New Year's Day were forthcoming.

kjacobson@tribune.com