Winter weather roundup

Below is a collection of news related to the winter storm hitting East Central Illinois. If you have useful information to add, please leave a comment on this story.

State police from District 10 in Pesotum have announced that Interstate 57, Interstate 72 and Interstate 74 are all impassible due to whiteout conditions and drifting snow blocking the highways.

All other roads are drifting closed, with near whiteout conditions. Blowing and drifting snow is blocking the roadways.

U.S. 150 is closed between St Joseph and Urbana due to a crash.

Champaign County highways and township roads will not be plowed after dusk.

State police say that  travel conditions are life-threatening.

Anyone traveling on the highways overnight is in life-threatening danger.

If motorists have vehicle problems, a disabled vehicle or a crash, assistance my not arrive before they succumb to extreme cold, police say.

Stay home and out of danger," said State Trooper Tracy Lillard.

The Red Cross has announced that a shelter for stranded motorists has opened at the Eagle Mountain Church, 401 E. Sale St., Tuscola.

Another shelter has opened at the First Presbyterian Church, 10 Charleston Ave., Mattoon.

Due to severe weather conditions, Amtrak has canceled Saluki trains 391 and 392 for Monday.
Alternate  transporation is not available.

With a strong winter storm barreling down on central Illinois, Ameren Illinois has activated its Emergency Operations Center, and employees have been placed on alert.

Ameren Illinois is taking the following actions to keep customers and personnel safe:
- Weather conditions are being monitored for any changes that may impact service.
- Trucks are fueled and loaded with supplies so they are ready for immediate deployment.
- Crews are doubling up on trucks to ensure the safety of all co-workers.
- Gas Storage facilities are being staffed 24 hours to ensure there is ample gas supply to meet increased customer demand.  Additional gas regulation technicians and gas controllers have been dispatched.

The primary issue causing outages is the high wind, which is also causing "flickering" to customers that have seen their power restored.

Crews are being called out to station near operating centers to be ready for quick deployment.

Response time is being impacted by impassable roads.  In these cases, Ameren Illinois is using ATVs to reach its equipment.

In case of an outage, customers should make a report by calling Ameren Illinois at 800-755-5000 or by visiting amerenillinois.com.

Customers are also reminded to stay away from downed power lines and report a downed line to Ameren Illinois as quickly as possible.
 

Monday’s Illinois-Northwestern women’s basketball game at
Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston has been postponed because of inclement weather
throughout the state. A makeup date has yet to be determined and will be announced
as soon as it is finalized.

Illinois State Police are announcing I-74 is officially shut down in the eastbound lanes at milepost 185/University Avenue exit due to multiple vehicle accidents including jackknifed semis and passenger vehicles. Traffic will be re-routed onto U..S. 150.

The Illinois Department of Transportation says Illinois 47 just south of U.S. 136 is closed, as well as Illinois 10 just west of Illinois 47.

Roads are currently snow packed and hazardous, and blowing snow is causing extremely poor visibility.

State police are advising all motorists to not travel at this time. Emergency travel only.

The state police have also instituted a no tow policy due to hazardous weather and road conditions.

Motorists are advised to use caution if stranded in the roadway. Motorists off into the ditch are advised by state police to remain inside their vehicles. Do not attempt to walk from your vehicle.

Because of the poor visibilities and dangerous wind chills, snow plowing
operations on Champaign County highways and township roads will be halted at sunset tonight.

Plowing will resume as conditions permit in the morning.

Travel on county highways and township roads is discouraged and will be at your own risk. Procedures are in place for
plows to accompany emergency vehicles into rural areas should that become
necessary.

Residents are asked to refrain from travel in the county as conditions
continue to deteriorate and wind chills fall to dangerous levels. Some
rural roads are being reported as impassible and are closed.
Due to the extreme weather conditions, all jail programs and visitation at the Champaign County jail have been suspended for Monday and Tuesday.
Visiting hours and programs will resume on Wednesday.

Family and friends of detainees can call 217-384-1243 with questions concerning the posting of bond and to make arrangements to pick up detainees who are discharged during the adverse weather conditions.

Detainees who are homeless or do not have transportation will be allowed to remain in the  jail lobby until the weather improves, they have a ride or transportation can be arranged
Carle and Carle Hoopeston Regional Health Center outpatient
sites will be closed Monday due to inclement weather and
unsafe travel conditions. Patients may call their physician’s office to
reschedule appointments when Carle re-opens.

Convenient Care at Urbana on Windsor, Danville, Hoopeston, Watseka,
Champaign SurgiCenter will be available and Carle Foundation Hospital,
including the Emergency Department, are operating as usual. Patients
seeking immediate care should call 911.
Christie Clinic locations will be closed on Monday due to
inclement weather. Christie Clinic Convenient Care on Windsor will be open
on Monday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The St. Joseph Township Library will be closed Monday due to inclement weather.
Due to inclement weather, the Vermilion County Health Department will be closed on
Monday.

Due to the inclement weather, the Champaign County Welcome Center and Visit
Champaign County will be closed on Monday.

The offices of Rape Advocacy, Counseling and Education Services will be closed
on Monday due to inclement weather. The rape crisis
hotline will continue to operate 24-hours a day, 7 days a week at
217-384-4444.

The Community Service Center in Rantoul will be closed Monday, January 6 due
to extreme weather
.
Due to the severity of the weekend storm all U-Cycle routes will be
delayed by one day. This delay of one day includes both residential and
multi-family routes.

NEW 4:15 Sunday: 

Illinois State Police are on the scene of a traffic crash involving two jackknife truck tractor/semi trailers on I-57 at milepost 192 blocking both northbound lanes.  Traffic will be stopped northbound until the semis are removed.

UI Chancellor Phyllis Wise sent an email to employees.

"Unless your function is critical, you should not report to work this
afternoon, tonight or tomorrow (Monday). Employees who do not work must
use personal time (vacation, floating holiday, accrued comp time) or take
an excused, unpaid absence," she wrote.

"If you are not certain whether you perform a critical function, you should
contact your supervisor for clarification. In situations such as these,
critical functions include, but are not limited to, tasks such as snow
removal and animal care."

The National Weather Service reports that a winter storm warning remains in effect until midnight tonight.

Areas affected include Champaign; Coles; DeWitt; Douglas; Edgar; McLean, Piatt;and Vermilion counties.

The weather service says moderate to heavy snow will gradually taper off from the west to the east this evening.

Additional accumulations should be 2 inches or less west of Interstate 57.

Locations along and east of Interstate 57 could see an additional 2 to 4 inches of snow before it tapers off this evening.

Northerly winds will continue to gust to about 35 mph tonight.

Strong winds and fresh snowfall are expected to result in blowing and drifting snow.

Temperatures will continue to plummet through the night.

Bitterly cold temperatures will combine with the wind to produce wind chill values from 25 below  zero to 45 below zero from late tonight into Tuesday morning.

Considerable blowing and drifting snow could produce near blizzard conditions at times with rapid changes in visibility.

The National Weather Service says the heavy snowfall will make for hazardous travel conditions throughout the evening.

The gusty northerly winds will produce considerable blowing and drifting snow, producing near blizzard conditions at times, with rapid changes in visibility.

The bitter windchill temperatures expected later tonight into Tuesday can rapidly produce frostbite.

Because of the winter storm, Willard Airport in Savoy is closing until further notice.

All Champaign Park District programs are canceled for Monday and Monday night and
all facilities will be closed.

Urbana Park District facilities will be closed on Monday.

Urbana School District 116 has cancelled school and Urbana Adult Education classes
Monday. Maintenance, grounds and custodians should report on
Monday at regular time.

The Danville Area Community College Child Development Center and Danville Area Community College Hoopeston office will be closed
Monday due to inclement weather.

NEW 1:45 p.m. Sunday:  The Champaign County Emergency Management Agency says because of the poor visibilities and dangerous wind chills, snow plowing operations on Champaign County Highways and Township Roads will be halted at sunset Sunday.   Plowing will resume as conditions permit in the morning.


NEW 2:40 p.m. Sunday:  The City of Champaign says the Sidewalk Snow Removal Ordinance that was in effect Jan 1/4 through Sunday at 11 a.m. has been deactivated until further notice. Notification will be sent with a new time period once the Public Works Director declares it active again.

NEW 3 p.m. Sunday:  The University of Illinois has issued an advisory to employees on reporting to work.  Details here.

A list of National Weather Service advisories issued for the area can be found here.

Current conditions can be found here.

A list of closings and cancellations can be found here.

Advisories from local municipalities can be found here.

Listen to a National Weather Service meteorologist talk about the storm here.

Meteorologist Greg Soulje's blog, including a post on this weekend's storm, can be found here.

Tips to deal with the cold can be found here.

Tips to prevent pipes from bursting can be found here.

Photos from the storm can be found here.

Sections (3):News, Local, Weather

Comments

News-Gazette.com embraces discussion of both community and world issues. We welcome you to contribute your ideas, opinions and comments, but we ask that you avoid personal attacks, vulgarity and hate speech. We reserve the right to remove any comment at our discretion, and we will block repeat offenders' accounts. To post comments, you must first be a registered user, and your username will appear with any comment you post. Happy posting.

Login or register to post comments

sweet caroline wrote on January 05, 2014 at 9:01 pm

The caption under the photo should read "frigid" conditions, not "fridge" conditions.

Mike Howie wrote on January 05, 2014 at 10:01 pm
Profile Picture

Thanks for spotting that. Fixed.