LIVE weather roundup Feb. 4, 2014
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 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
Snow in Champaign
— news_gazette (@news_gazette) February 4, 2014
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.
@news_gazette one lane clear on I-57 N between Mattoon and Champaign, traffic moving 45 mph
— Jennifer Daily Hess (@jenniferjhess) February 4, 2014