Tuesday's weather updates
This just in: It's cold.
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Columnist Tom Kacich has been through a lot of these storms. Ask him about it here.
Other news related to the snow and cold that has hit East Central Illinois will be added to this story throughout the day. If you have useful information to add, please leave a comment on this story.
Food pantry to be closed Wednesday
Vineyard Hope Center's food pantry will be closed on Wednesday. It will reopen on Jan. 15.
Amtrak cancels two trains for Wednesday
Amtrak announced on Tuesday evening that Saluki trains 391 and 392 will not operate on Wednesday.
Courthouse to be closed in Vermilion County
The Vermilion Courthouse and Vermilion County Annex Building will be closed on Wednesday.
Champaign, Urbana public schools to hold classes Wednesday
Tim Ditman reports the following:
Many kids in Champaign-Urbana will be back in class on Wednesday.
The Champaign Unit 4 School District and the Urbana School District 116 are both holding classes Wednesday.
Both districts, though, will have limited bus service. For Urbana, that means no bus service to the area east of High Cross Road and north of Airport Road. Details on the Champaign changes here.
Meanwhile, some rural school districts in East Central Illinois have canceled classes for a third day in a row. Click the link at the bottom of this story for those closings.
County, state roads update
Kimberly Schofield reports the following:
The Maintenance Supervisor for the Champaign County Highway Department said county roads are being cleared Tuesday, but he urged people to stay off the roads unless it's absolutely necessary.
Tracy Wingler said at least one lane is open on most county roads and added that the highway department will continue clearing roads through the rest of Monday.
Wingler also said even though the roads are being cleared, they are still dangerous, and he asked that people stay off the roads until they are cleared and salted.
Wingler added that any cars that are stranded in the middle of a roadway will be towed but said if a car is left in a ditch or on the side of the road, it is the driver's responsibility to have it removed.
Carol Vorel reports the following:
The bitter cold is letting up just a little bit Monday with temperatures finally climbing above zero. But road conditions on the interstates in East Central Illinois haven't improved much.
Illinois State Police spokesperson Tracy Lillard said troopers are still recommending that you travel on the interstates only for emergencies since they remain covered in ice. She said it's still too cold for the chemicals to melt the ice, and cars and trucks continue to slide off the road.
Lillard said hundreds of cars and trucks have slid off the roadways across the nine counties covered by Illinois State Police District 10, primarily on the interstates. She said it will be Wednesday before crews can begin removing the vehicles from ditches and medians because it's too dangerous for tow truck operators. She said only vehicles that are blocking roadways or are hazards are being towed at this point.
Lillard said state troopers continue to rescue drivers and are transporting them to warm places. She says the bitter cold conditions are still life-threatening if you get stuck in your vehicle. Lillard said if you have to travel, slow down and give yourself extra time to reach your destination.
Water main breaks
Illinois American Water is working to repair a break in a main water line in the 1300 block of West Clark Street in Champaign.
Another break reported in the area of Paula Drive and Joanne Lane in northwest Champaign Monday night was fixed early Tuesday morning.
Karen Cotton, a spokeswoman for IAW, said the break on Clark Street affects about 20 customers. It was located about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday and work is ongoing.
"About 20 customers will be under a boil advisory because of a loss in pressure. Our team will let them know directly with door hangers. Right now, they’re working on making the repairs," she said.
If all goes well, the company hoped to have the break repaired by tonight.
City of Champaign update
"We are in our 13th consecutive 12-hour shift," said Koester at midday Tuesday.
"As of this morning, we have plowed everything in the city — primary, secondary, cul-de-sacs, dead ends and city-owned parking lots."
"There is still, of course, snow on the ground and it will be there until we get warmer temperatures. Our plan today is to start putting salt and other chemicals down so when it starts warming up Wednesday, it will start breaking up and we can get some of the stuff (off) the ground. Right now we are pushing it over the curbs."
Illinois State Police at Ashkum report
Interstate 57 is down to one lane in some areas throughout Kankakee, Iroquois and Ford counties due to snow and ice. Several secondary roads are still snow covered and icy.
Monday, motorists were taken to warming centers in the Gilman and Paxton area. Motorists are advised to be cautious while driving; tow trucks will be out removing the 60 stranded vehicles on I-57 and on the secondary roads.
State police say if you must drive, allow plenty of time to reach your destination, put extra water, food, and warm clothing in your vehicle and contact your nearest police department if your vehicle becomes disabled or involved in a crash.
Deteriorating conditions on freight railroad-owned routes used by Amtrak have led to additional cancelations to and from the Chicago area on Tuesday, Jan. 7. Passengers with travel plans in the region are urged to confirm their train's status using a range of tools – including Amtrak.com, smartphone apps and 800-USA-RAIL.
The following Chicago Hub Services will not be available on Tuesday, Jan.7:
• Lincoln Service Trains 300, 301, 302, 303, 304 & 305 are canceled.
(Trains 306 & 307 are the only scheduled trains on the Chicago-St. Louis corridor)
• Hiawatha Service Trains 329, 332, 333, 336, 337 & 340 are canceled.
(Trains 330, 331, 334, 335, 338, 339, 341 & 342 will maintain service on the Chicago-Milwaukee corridor)
• Wolverine Service Trains 352 & 353 are canceled.
(Trains 350, 351, 354 & 355 will maintain service on the Chicago-Ann Arbor-Detroit-Pontiac corridor)
• Illinois Zephyr & Carl Sandburg Trains 380, 381, 382 & 383 are canceled.
• Saluki Trains 390, 391 & 392 are canceled.
(Trains 393 is the only scheduled train on the Chicago-Carbondale corridor)
• Hoosier State Train 851 is canceled.
Residual delays are likely.
Passengers who have paid but choose not to travel due to this service disruption can receive a refund or a voucher for future travel. Some reservations booked online can be modified or canceled on Amtrak.com or by using the free Amtrak mobile app.
Amtrak regrets any inconvenience. Information is subject to change as conditions warrant. Passengers are encouraged to call 800-USA-RAIL or visit Amtrak.com/alerts for Service Alerts and Passenger Notices. Schedule information and train status updates are available at the Amtrak.com home page.
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