Today's weather updates

UPDATED 4:42 p.m.: Illinois State Police are investigating a single-vehicle rollover crash on Interstate 74 near Danville that injured a Florida man and closed down traffic in the eastbound lanes on Tuesday.

Patrick E. Welch, 65, of Milton, Fla., was airlifted from the crash scene to Carle Foundation Hospital's emergency room late that morning. His condition wasn't available that afternoon, according to a hospital spokesman.

The accident occurred at 10:15 a.m. on the interstate eight-tenths of a mile east of milepost 217, about 2 1/2 miles from the Illinois-Indiana state line.

According to a report, Welch was driving east in a gray 2005 Ford Escape, when he drove onto the outside snow-covered shoulder.

Witnesses said the Escape passed on the right while driving on the shoulder. Then the driver lost control of the vehicle, went into the ditch, rolled over, struck a tree and stopped in the ditch.

Master Sgt. Shad Edwards said the driver had to be cut out of the vehicle.

"It took a long time for extrication probably due to the response time because of the condition of the highway," Edwards said, adding "pretty much all of the interstates and highways are snow- and ice-covered."

An initial report said the driver had a severe chest injury.

A helicopter was flown in to take him to the hospital. The eastbound lanes were closed around 11:30 a.m. so that the helicopter could land.

Welch was ticketed for driving too fast for road conditions, improper driving on the shoulder, improper lane usage and improper overtaking on the right.

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NEW 4:15 p.m.:  Urbana Public Works officials said even though the sidewalk snow removal ordinance is not in effect, some property owners in the city are being asked clear their areas of snow and ice.

The ordinance applies to Downtown, University and South Philo Road districts.  The city is asking property owners in those areas to voluntarily clear sidewalks in a timely manner to help make pedestrian travel safe.

Meanwhile in Champaign, property owners in the Campustown and Downtown areas have until 4 p.m. Thursday to clear their sidewalks or risk having them cleared by the city at the owner's expense.

— The latest wave of snow and cold has schools make adjustments. Check out our latest cancellations and closings here.

— With the weather causing delivery delays of The News-Gazette, we're making our electronic edition free. Check it out here.

— Has our area ever experienced a worse winter? Ask columnist Tom Kacich — an avid weather watcher — about it here

— The Illinois State Police are advising motorist to be cautious while traveling this morning. Interstate 57 is down to one lane in most areas throughout Kankakee, Iroquois and Ford Counties due to snow and ice, and is experiencing blowing snow.  District 21 is beginning to respond to reports of slide offs and crashes due to the weather conditions.  Secondary roads are also snow covered, icy, and are experiencing blowing snow. Extra caution should be taken while traveling through I-57 at milepost 315 and 309 areas due to blowing snow.

–– Officially Champaign received 2.7 inches of snow overnight, bringing the January total to 14.2 inches, said the Illinois State Water Survey. Normal for January in Champaign-Urbana is 6.8 inches.

And Champaign-Urbana already has exceeded its normal snowfall total for the winter — with more than a month to go in the season. It has received 24.2 inches of snow so far this winter; in a normal winter it gets 23.2 inches.

Other snowfall totals from the National Weather Service:  Lovington 2.7 inches, Tuscola 2.3 inches, Paris 2 inches, Farmer City area 2 inches, Ogden 1.2 inches and Milford area .8 inches.  The weather service said the Chicago area saw the most snowfall in the state at 6 inches.

— Here's the forecast from our Greg Soulje:

TODAY — Windy & bitterly cold. A few flurries early. Blowing snow. Becoming mostly sunny. Steady or slowly falling temperatures. North to northwest wind 20 to 30 mph, gusty.

TONIGHT — Bitter cold. Mostly cloudy. A couple of flurries developing in spots late. Lows zero to 5 below. Northwest to west wind 7 to 14 mph, becoming southwest. Chance of snow 30%.

TOMORROW — Not as cold. Considerable cloudiness. A few snow showers. High around 20. Southwest wind 10 to 16 mph. Chance of snow 40%.

TOMORROW NIGHT — Bitter cold. A few clouds. Low around zero.

THURSDAY — Very cold. Breezy. Mostly sunny. High 8. 

— The Associated Press reports much of Illinois is grappling with the latest wintry blast that dropped more than 8 inches of snow on portions of the Chicago area as temperatures remained stuck in single digits.

The storm that pushed through the region late Monday and early Tuesday forced school cancellations and made commutes treacherous throughout Illinois.

The National Weather Service the Chicago suburb of Oak Park logged more than 8 inches of snow. And there’s a 50 percent chance of more snow in that region Wednesday, when high temperatures are expected to push into the teens.

The weather service in central Illinois’ Lincoln says that swath of the state got 1 to 4 inches of snowfall, with much of that accumulation drifting across roadways before being compacted by vehicles, making driving conditions slick.

— Elsewhere in the Midwest: A 60-mile stretch of Interstate 65 has been closed at times in southern Indiana, where police say numerous crashes have happened in sometimes whiteout conditions.

Officials say Tuesday’s snowfall and gusty winds have contributed to several crashes along I-65.

Northbound lanes remained closed late Tuesday morning between exit 16 at Memphis near Louisville, Ky., and exit 76 at Taylorsville, just north of Columbus. Officials reopened the southbound lanes after more than an hour.

State police Sgt. Jerry Goodin says no serious injuries have been reported in the crashes. He says I-65 had so many collisions and slide-offs that highway crews couldn’t treated the slick roadway.

The National Weather Service reports the area’s heaviest snowfall was about 4 inches in Seymour, Ind.

 

 

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