Wednesday weather news
Weather-related news for East Central Illinois
Urbana rec center to reopen Thursday
NEW 3:25 p.m. - A recreation center in Urbana will re-open Thursday after sustaining water damage on Wednesday.
Phillips Recreation Center has been closed Wednesday while officials dealt with a busted water pipe. No word yet on the cause of the pipe burst or the extent of damage.
State roads update
NEW 1:20 p.m. - Illinois State Police are continuing to warn people to slow down and take their time even though the ice and snow is starting to melt.
Trooper Tracy Lillard said the salt treatment is working on the interstates as the temperature has increased on Wednesday. But she said people are still driving too fast for conditions and sliding off the roads and into the ditches.
Lillard added that if your car is still stuck from previous crashes, the safest thing to do is to wait at least another day to have it towed. She said state police are not going to provide traffic assistance for the towing of cars at this time because it isn't safe.
Lillard said there could be cars on state routes and other roads where it might safe to tow a vehicle. But that is up the vehicle owner and the towing company.
Cold highlights efforts to find shelter for homeless
NEW 12:15 p.m. - With the recent cold snap, the task of finding shelter for the homeless is back in the spotlight.
President and CEO of the United Way of Champaign County Sue Grey said over the past few days in the county, a helpline took six calls from people seeking shelter, and all of those people were able to get the help they needed.
And looking at the bigger picture, Grey said United Way officials are looking at committing more money to the agency's family shelter program. Grey said so far, that program has helped 26 families find secure housing.
Grey also said that United Way officials and others are working on a permanent solution to the problem of homeless families in our area but couldn't release details.
Grey made the comments Wednesday on the WDWS Morning Show.
Champaign invokes sidewalk rules
New 12:09 p.m. CHAMPAIGN — Property owners in downtown Champaign and Campustown will have until noon on Jan. 13 to clear their sidewalks or risk paying penalties.
The city activated its sidewalk snow removal ordinance as of noon Wednesday. Typically, the city gives property owners 48 hours to clear their walks, but officials are allowing them to take the weekend to get the work done.
Any sidewalks not cleared by noon on Jan. 13 could be cleared by the city and the property owner would be billed for the work, plus an administrative fee. A 48-inch-wide path or the width of the sidewalk needs to be cleared, whichever is less.
A map of the properties in the sidewalk snow removal districts can be found online at ci.champaign.il.us/snow.
Champaign County roads update
12 p.m. - Dave Gentry of the WDWS Morning Show talked to the Maintenance Supervisor for the Champaign County Highway Department Tracy Wingler on Wednesday morning.
He said there are a lot of slick spots on county roads, especially at intersections. It's been too cold for the chemicals to melt the ice on roadways, but Wingler said crews went out at around 4 a.m. Wednesday to spread a salt mixture since the temperature is warming up. He said the temperature has to be around 15 degrees above zero for that mixture to work.
Wingler said the chemicals seem to be working already, but it's going slow. He said direct sunlight would also be a big help, but that doesn't look like it's in the forecast very much in the next few days.
Urbana invokes sidewalk rules
New 10:51 a.m.: URBANA — As of noon Wednesday, the city of Urbana has declared that snow and ice must be removed from sidewalks by noon Thursday.
Due to the winter storm, more than two inches of snow has accumulated. City ordinance requires that public sidewalks, within the defined districts,
be cleared by adjacent property owners within 24 hours,
Public sidewalks within these districts which are not in compliance could be cleared by the city at the expense of the adjacent property owner, with additional fines and administrative fees applied.
Maps of the snow removal districts and other information regarding the snow removal ordinance can be found on the city's website at: http://urbanaillinois.us/businesses/sidewalk-snow-removal.
Property owners outside of the snow removal districts are also asked to voluntarily clear sidewalks adjacent to their property in a timely manner to help make pedestrian travel safe.
42 degrees forecast for Sunday!
By the end of the week, the temperatures should be a mirror image of the wind chills at the start of the week.
Here's the forecast for the week, from the National Weather Service:
Wednesday: A 30 percent chance of snow, mainly after noon. Cloudy, with a high near 21. North northwest wind 3 to 6 mph. Wednesday night A 20 percent chance of snow. Cloudy, with a low around 14. Wind chill values between 4 and 9. North northeast wind around 7 mph. Thursday: A 40 percent chance of snow. Cloudy, with a high near 31. Wind chill values between 4 and 14. South southeast wind 7 to 10 mph. Thursday night: A chance of flurries and freezing drizzle. Cloudy, with a low around 28. South wind around 9 mph. Friday: A 50 percent chance of rain after noon. Cloudy, with a high near 37. Breezy, with a south southeast wind 8 to 13 mph increasing to 16 to 21 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 26 mph. Friday night: Rain likely. Cloudy, with a low around 35. Breezy. Chance of precipitation is 70%. Saturday: A 30 percent chance of rain. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 40.Saturday night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 26. Sunday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 42.---
Trucks crash on I-74
From Mary Schenk:
FITHIAN — Two tractor trailer trucks and a utility truck were involved in an early morning crash Wednesday on Interstate 74 that resulted in one person going to the hospital with minor injuries.
A release from the Illinois State Police at Pesotum said the crash happened at 2:11 a.m. Wednesday on I-74 eastbound at milepost 203.
John Bourquin, 45, of Crystal Lake, was driving a truck-tractor-tanker combination in the driving lane when he lost control on the icy roadway and hit another truck-tractor that was disabled. He also hit a GMC utility vehicle on the emergency shoulder that was servicing the disabled truck.
After hitting both vehicles, Bourquin swerved and crashed in the median.
He was ticketed for improper lane usage and taken to Presence United Samaritans Medical Center in Danville with minor injuries.
Ray Dixon, 49, of Phoenix, was in the disabled truck-tractor and was not injured. The name of the driver of the service truck was not immediately available.
Troopers remind that area interstates are still snow-covered and icy.
In District 21 covering Kankakee, Iroquois and Ford Counties, I-57 is down to one lane in some areas.
Motorists are advised to be cautious while tow trucks continue to move stranded vehicles on interstates and secondary roads.