.grecaptcha-badge { visibility: hidden; }
Close this search box.

WEATHER ALERT: Hurricane Beryl’s to bring heavy rainfall and potential flooding to Illinois

Deep freeze breaks pipes, flooding homes, schools and business across Central Illinois

Damaged gym lobby ceiling from broken water pipe at Paris High School on December 27, 2022.

URBANA – After a week in the deep freeze, crews are responding to dozens of broken pipes across Central Illinois. 

Picture shows water flooding the Paris High School library after a pipe break in December 2022. (Jeremy Larson, Paris Union School Dist. 95)

The city of Decatur says services like meter checks are being delayed because of more than 15 water main breaks since last week’s cold snap. A Winter Storm plunged temperatures below freezing for several days in the week before Christmas weekend 2022. Chambana meteorologist Andrew Pritchard predicted winds on December 23 gusted to near 50 miles per hour, prompting dangerously cold wind chills of 35 to 40 degrees below zero. Crews in Decatur have also responded to more than 100 meter or pipe bursts inside homes. The city expects more emergencies as pipes continue to thaw.

In Champaign, a broken pipe closed the Drivers Services facility at the Round Barn West Shopping Center on Tuesday. Crews worked through the day to remove water and dry the carpet. WCIA-TV reports that the offices are expected to reopen on Wednesday.

The Paris Union School District No. 95 reported significant flood damage at Paris High School, 60 miles southeast of Champaign. Superintendent Jeremy Larson said in a letter to the public that a fire suppression line broke on Christmas Day. Water damaged the school’s flooring, electrical systems, and cables. Local plumbers and electricians are working with administrators to repair the damage. School is expected to resume as normal on Wednesday, January 4, 2023. Pictures released by Larson show the high school’s gym flooded, a pipe burst in the ceiling of the gym lobby, and water flooding into the high school library.

Picture shows water flooding the Paris High School gym after a pipe break in December 2022. (Jeremy Larson, Paris Union School Dist. 95)

Broken pipes also prompted boil water orders in Central Illinois. On Tuesday afternoon, the city of Jacksonville, west of Springfield, issued a boil order. The affected area is Doolin Street between East Oak Street to East Walnut Street. The order is in place until further notice.

Meanwhile, a boil order in the community of White Heath in Champaign County was lifted Tuesday afternoon after repairs were made to a pipeline.

The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention recommends only drinking, brushing teeth or bathing with water that’s bottled or has been boiled for a minute. Not doing so could result in ingesting germs that can make you sick.

Picture of Reginald Hardwick

Reginald Hardwick

Reginald Hardwick is the News & Public Affairs Director at Illinois Public Media. He oversees daily newscasts and online stories. He also manages The 21st Show, a live, weekday talk show that airs on 7 NPR stations throughout Illinois. He is the executive producer of IPM's annual environmental TV special "State of Change." And he is the co-creator of Illinois Soul, IPM's Black-focused audio service that launched in February 2024. Before arriving at IPM in 2019, he served as News Director at WKAR in East Lansing and spent 17 years as a TV news producer and manager at KXAS, the NBC-owned station in Dallas/Fort Worth. Reginald is the recipient of three Edward R. Murrow regional awards, seven regional Emmy awards, and multiple honors from the National Association of Black Journalists. Born in Vietnam, Reginald grew up in Colorado and is a graduate of the University of Northern Colorado. Email: rh14@illinois.edu Twitter: @RNewsWILL

More Stories From Illinois Public Media

man standing in front of US flag

Trump announces Vance as VP pick

He says on his Truth Social Network that, “After lengthy deliberation and thought, and considering the tremendous talents of many others, I have decided that the person best suited to assume the position of Vice President of the United States is Senator J.D. Vance of the Great State of Ohio.”