LIVE weather roundup Feb. 4, 2014

LIVE weather roundup Feb. 4, 2014

Carle makes preparations for its staff

URBANA — A hospital doesn't have the luxury of closing in a snowstorm, and Carle Foundation Hospital was rolling out cots to sleep dozens of employees overnight Tuesday.

The cots are for employees who think they might have a hard time getting to work in the morning.

"We think we'll need 30 to 40 beds," said Anita Guffey, director of emergency management at Carle.

The hospital also rolled out its emergency volunteer drivers, with plans to have several volunteers picking up employees who needed a ride to the hospital Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, she said.

"We've got our cafeteria staying open late to feed our staff coming in and several different things we're doing to make it as comfortable as possible, once they get here safe," Guffey said.

Carle has purchased a new emergency notification system and will be using it to notify 6,000 employees about rides to work and any cancellations, Guffey said.

Update:  local shelter options

People in the Champaign-Urbana area who need shelter from the cold and snow have several options.

People can come to the Times Center at 70 East Washington in Champaign where dinner will be served at 6 p.m. Tuesday.  At 6:30, you'll be taken to the Salvation Army Church at 502 North Prospect Avenue where you can stay overnight. The church will then open at 7 p.m. for anyone else that needs to stay warm. 

For women, you can report to the Center for Women in Transition at 508 East Church between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.  You'll then be taken to First United Methodist Church to spend the night.

Officials will not be taking people to the Savoy United Methodist Church due to poor road conditions.

Meanwhile, Champaign County Emergency Management Agency Coordinator John Dwyer said people can go to the satellite jail lobby in Urbana to get out of the cold.

The City of Champaign also has two warming centers at the Department of Human Services:  one at 1307 North Mattis Avenue and the other at 705 North Country Fair Drive.  Those two locations will only be open during normal business hours.

Snow routes

Snow routes are in effect for Mahomet and Monticello.  You're asked to move your car off the snow routes or risk having them towed.

UI: Will they or won't they?

Despite the digital backlash last week in response to Chancellor Phyllis Wise's decision to hold classes on a bitterly cold day, the University of Illinois' approach to calling a snow day has remained the same, according to a spokeswoman.

The forecast for Champaign-Urbana called for anywhere from 5 to 9 inches total over Tuesday and into Wednesday. Late last March, an approximately 12-inch snowfall forced the university to cancel classes.

"Safety is the consideration," said Robin Kaler, the UI's spokeswoman. "For example, if we can't clear sidewalks or roads, if the power is out, if bus service is compromised, if Champaign County authorities tell us they can't keep up with rescue calls, we consider those factors in a decision to interrupt normal operations."

Members of the Campus Emergency Operations Committee — which includes staff from the university police department, human resources, public affairs, facilities, the chancellor's office and provosts's office — have been meeting since Monday to share information.

Late Sunday, Jan. 26, the UI issued a mass email message to the campus community stating that classes were on for the following day. It prompted some vitriolic responses online.

The university typically doesn't send out messages stating that the university would remain open as usual, but since the campus hadn't dealt with an extremely cold wind chill in quite some time, officials received a number of questions and it seemed appropriate to clarify with a message, Kaler said.

As for the status of Wednesday's classes, the university may or may not send out a message about classes. As of mid-day Tuesday campus officials weren't planning to send any message unless normal operations were interrupted.

There is no set time for sending such messages; officials monitor the weather "and respond accordingly," Kaler said.

— CHRISTINE DES GARENNES

Last Chicago flight
 
Willard Airport says its last flight from Chicago, the 9:25 p.m. arrival, has been canceled, as has the 8:30 p.m. flight from Dallas.

Snow in Champaign
 
Here's a view of downtown Champaign just after the snow started falling on Tuesday:
 

 
 
Road conditions

We're starting to hear the road conditions are worsening. Twitter is a good place for such warnings. (Follow us at twitter.com/news_gazette) and check the Illinois Department of Transportation's website for winter road conditions here.

 


Closings

 
Check here for reported closings. If you have a closing to report, please send it to newsroom@wdws.com
 
Municipal crews preparing for snow
 
Snow is expected to begin in East Central Illinois on Tuesday afternoon, with as much as 6 to 10 inches predicted before the storm ends on Wednesday.
 
City and county crews are getting ready.
 
In Champaign, workers were applying anti-icing agents to main streets, bridges, overpasses and the areas around city buildings.
 
Workers will be on duty till 11:30 p.m., with more set to begin at 11:15 p.m. to work till 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.
 
-- The News-Gazette
 
Online
 
The National Weather Service's Central Illinois site is here.
 
-- The News-Gazette
 
Paxton, Gibson City stock up on salt
 
Ahead of Tuesday night’s anticipated snow storm, the street departments in Paxton and Gibson City restocked their dwindling road-salt supplies, hoping they will have enough to keep their roads clear for the next couple of rounds of severe weather.
 
On Tuesday, the forecast for Paxton showed daytime snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches and further snow accumulation of 3 to 5 inches overnight. Less than a half-inch of snow was expected Wednesday.
 
Paxton, which had 400 to 500 tons of road salt at the start of December, has about two loads — or 50 tons — left, said Randy Swan, superintendent of Paxton’s streets and alleys department. On Monday, Swan purchased 26 more tons.
 
“We’ve got enough for this storm, the next storm, and hopefully March,” Swan said Tuesday. “So hopefully we’ll make it through the winter.”
 
Gibson City had 50 tons and was to receive 50 more on Tuesday, according to the city’s street superintendent, Randy Stauffer. Gibson City started the winter with about 150 tons of salt on hand, plus about 100 tons of salt and sand mix.
 
Paxton said his crew will be out plowing and salting streets on Wednesday and through the week. He advised residents to not park on Market Street on Thursday and Friday, when city workers will be clearing the snow there. 
 
Areas of Paxton that are salted first include the bridges and Market Street in the downtown, streets around the schools, and some of the most highly traveled intersections. Then, workers start salting intersections in residential areas.
 
In Gibson City, priority areas for snow-removal include the areas around schools and Gibson Area Hospital on the city’s north side. The city also salts the parking lots at the middle school and high school.
 
-- Will Brumleve/Paxton Record
 
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Eric wrote on February 06, 2014 at 11:02 pm

I have never seen such a bad  set of road workers for urbana and champaign in my life.

 I never seen such an incompetent bunch of drivers in my life.

 Not one but every building that had dug out the handicap access has been covered up by the city. there is a reason for handicap accesses and there is reason why we voted them laws in to the state and Federal.

city of urbana and city of champaign  you all amaze me the disrespect you give to are hurt veterans and sisters and brothers that need to get to work and to home.

 Shame on you all of you drivers that have no clue how to read handicap signs and understand there has to be one accesses to the building by law for the handicap.

You all have shamed your self again. The mayors of both  these cities show how much they could care less how hard it is to shovel from a wheel chair . To find out the city  has covered it up. Get a life you steering wheel holders . Come live in the city where you plow. Better yet sit in a wheel chair for a day. You all have no clue. How hard it is.

You look at every  apartment building that has handicap access and  you figure it out why . we try to keep one spot open.

Have you ever seen a human almost froze from trying to get out of his car because you filled the handicap space full of snow. or  put a mound of snow next to it.

Smile It is time to move from this red neck town of good ole boys that care less about there neighbor.

And you jerk of a city driver watched the person struggle stranded in your closed off handicap accesses.

The owners of these Apartment complexes have gone out of there way to keep these sidewalks open. You think
you all could leave one access  to the side walk for every block of apartments . I don't mind having to roll the chair extra couple hundred yards but every city block with apartment come on. Vote these jerks out.

 Shame on the disrespect.