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.

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.

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.

A storm to remember?

Wind chills of minus 34. Snow over your dog's head. But hey, you've got power, TV is plentiful and Merry Ann's Diner is open. Like your grandpa who walked six miles to school in the snow, uphill both ways, the air is always colder on the older side of the fence. We asked State Climatologist Jim Angel for his list of the most memorable storms to sock the area before this latest one.

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.

Soup kitchen, shelters provide respite

CHAMPAIGN — After spending Sunday night sleeping on the floor of a friend's one-bedroom apartment, Kevin Love on Monday morning slipped on his boots, gloves and knit hat, and headed into Campustown.

It was 15 degrees below zero.

And no buses were running.

"I'm dressed for it, and I know how to use my resources," Love said.

Getting back to business

CHAMPAIGN — Banks and businesses began returning to their routines as East Central Illinois folks dug their way out of the deep freeze.

By noon Monday, more than half the shops at Champaign's Market Place Shopping Center had opened for business, said Dennis Robertson, the mall's general manager.

"Additional retailers are opening as staff is available," he added.

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.

Gibson City man helped by strangers

GIBSON CITY — A Gibson City man is counting his blessings after being stranded in his vehicle with no heat for five hours Sunday, just as dangerously cold arctic weather and blizzard-like conditions were making their way into the area.

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