With more winter to come, snowfall records could fall

With more than two months remaining in central Illinois' snowfall season, Champaign-Urbana already has received about 80 percent of its snow total for a normal season, according to the National Weather Service.

Central Illinois Daily Life: Jan. 13-Jan. 20, 2014

Images of people, places and events as seen through the lens of News-Gazette photographers.

Illinois weather in 2013 was wetter, colder than normal

Officials said the first half of 2013 was the wettest on record in Illinois, but overall the year's precipitation was only a few inches above average.

State Climatologist Jim Angel said the statewide average precipitation last year was around 44 inches.  That's around 3.6 inches above normal, with nearly 30 inches of that amount falling in the first half of 2013.

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.

Church grants sanctuary to many travelers in need

TUSCOLA — Through blinding snow and numbing cold, stranded travelers had a warm sanctuary at a Tuscola church.

"We brought some games. We shared some movies. We had all kinds of food. We kept the coffee pot going," said the Rev. Darin Elder, pastor of the Eagle Mountain Assembly of God church.

Monday was No. 24 on charts of coldest days in local history

CHAMPAIGN — Print up the T-shirts. You lived through one of the 24 coldest days in Champaign-Urbana weather history.

Salt, extreme cold don't mix on roads

CHAMPAIGN — With extremely low temperatures immediately following this past weekend's snowstorm, it'll take a little longer this time to clear the roads.

Why? The answer is in the chemistry of road salt.

"It's just too cold," said Walt Kelly, the head of the groundwater section for the Illinois State Water Survey.

Few places in C-U for homeless to escape elements

CHAMPAIGN — Jason Easterly spent Monday afternoon on a cot in the hallway of the Salvation Army Red Shield Center. He was comfortable.

"This is nice. Warm," Easterly said.

It was 8 degrees below zero outside. Easterly doesn't know where he'd be had he not gotten a ride to the Salvation Army's warming center.

"Probably in the hospital with hypothermia or dead," he said.

Snowplow driver: Trucker 'saved my life'

CHAMPAIGN — It was like falling off your bike and scraping your face on cement.

It was that cold, that snowy, that windy, said William Argus.

"You couldn't be out for more than five or 10 minutes. The wind was fierce. It had a sheer force to it," he said, recalling the moment Sunday evening when he climbed out of his Ford F150 pickup truck on U.S. 150.

Some travelers spent night trapped at a rest stop

PESOTUM — There's probably a worse place to try to sleep in a near-blizzard than inside an interstate highway rest stop, although nothing comes to mind.