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WEATHER ALERT: Icy conditions in the forecast.

Live updates: Friday Winter Storm Updates

Illinois Public Media News is following the winter storm that forecasters say will impact much of Central Illinois Tuesday evening through Thursday evening.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning. Major roadway impacts are expected. We will share updates as the storm continues.

Find a full list of closings and cancellations submitted to our newsroom here. You can submit your closing or cancellation by emailing willnewsroom@illinois.edu.

Follow our live coverage below, or check the National Weather Service Central Illinois or Chambana Weather for warnings in your region.


POSTED FRIDAY AT 12:00 PM

As the winter storm has died down, crews in Champaign County are finally able to make progress on clearing roads.

Every highway in Champaign County is at least slightly cleared of ice and snow, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. This is a major change from yesterday, when all roads were fully covered. Many highways to the north of Champaign, including Interstate 57, have even switched to the “partly covered” category.

IDOT warns though that many roads are still far from clear. With low temperatures, road salt tends to be less effective in melting the ice. The department also requests that cars give plows room to work and reminds drivers that the safest place to be is behind the plow.

In the cities, the Urbana Public Works Department is working on plowing every street by noon. The department was able to start clearing residential streets overnight, after focusing on main streets throughout the storm.

“The streets are in better condition than yesterday. When people do try to get out, remember that the roads are still snow packed and there is still ice underneath certain areas. The roads may look clear, but I would remind drivers to be slow and cautious,” says Urbana Public Works Deputy Director Vince Gustafson.

Champaign County also aims to open rural roads shortly. The county continued to plow on Thursday night, unlike the previous night when high winds made plowing rural roads dangerous.

“Yesterday, we had a whole bunch of people stuck on the road, with snow piling up around vehicles. Hopefully we’re past that,” says Champaign County engineer Jeff Blue.

Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District continues to reroute some buses – now only on the Red, Gold and Pink routes — to avoid problem patches. MTD maintains an updated list of route changes here.

POSTED FRIDAY AT 9:50 AM

Despite the sun coming out, roads remain very icy in Vermilion County, causing backups on I-74 according to the State Police. Additionally, the National Weather Service says well have subzero temperatures this weekend. So the snow melt will be very slow. 


POSTED FRIDAY AT 7:45 AM

Snow has finally stopped falling across most of Illinois Friday morning, but travel remains hazardous in many parts of the state.

Chambana Weather meteorologist Andrew Pritchard has been updating us throughout the week on this storm.

He spoke with Illinois Newsroom’s Brian Moline early Friday morning from the road, and believe it or not, he’s talking with some people in Iowa about Spring weather.


POSTED FRIDAY AT 6:50 AM

Another major traffic issue on I-57 south of Champaign-Urbana.


POSTED THURSDAY AT 5:45 PM

A second major traffic issue along I-74 in Champaign County.


POSTED THURSDAY AT 5:00 PM

The city of Champaign says it is working around the clock to clear streets of nearly 13 inches of fresh snow. Crews will treat primary routes and get the streets down to near bare pavement first. Then begin working on secondary routes by tomorrow night. Champaign police have also implemented the Emergency Traffic Crash procedure. That means only traffic crashes involving an injury or vehicles that cannot be driven from the scene will be investigated by officers. If there is a crash and damages are estimated at less than 15-hundred dollars, the drivers involved can file reports with police once the Emergency Traffic Crash procedure is lifted.

As the snow winds down, the problems on the roadways continue to persist.


POSTED THURSDAY AT 3:30 PM

The winter storm is making driving very dangerous.

East-central Illinois has seen 61 crashes over the past two days – almost twice as many as the region saw all of last week.

Illinois State Police trooper and spokesperson Josh Korando says icy conditions contributed to many of this week’s accidents in ISP District 10.

“It seems like, ‘I’m driving just fine,’ and they start increasing their speed up to the speed limit. Then they need to stop and their car doesn’t stop – usually until it hits something like a dry spot in the road or something solid,” Korando says.

District 10 covers nine counties, including Champaign, Vermillion and Macon.

State police report that no one has died in any crashes in Illinois during the snow storm so far.

Three drivers have crashed into state police cars during the storm, leaving two state troopers with minor injuries.

Drivers are also finding themselves stuck in snow all across Illinois.

According to another Illinois State Police spokesperson, Sgt. Christopher Watson, 1,731 motorists have called for assistance statewide since the snow storm began early Wednesday morning.

That’s six times the number of motorists who called for help last week during this time.

Korando says the time it takes police to get to stranded drivers can vary.

“We have such a big area, it just varies. It just depends on where the call comes from and where our troopers are coming from,” Korando says.

State police include undamaged cars that have slid off the road in their motorist assist count.

Korando says police will continue to help stranded drivers for the remainder of the storm. Still, he says the fewer cars on the road, the easier it is for snow crews and first responders to do their jobs.


POSTED THURSDAY AT 11:20 AM

Major interstate closures continue in and around Champaign County. Meanwhile, the National Weather Service in Central Illinois says Champaign has ‘officially’ received 7 inches of snow so far.


POSTED THURSDAY AT 9:10 AM

Major highway closure in Champaign County.


POSTED THURSDAY AT 8:25 AM

Police and road crews are urging people to avoid driving or be more cautious if they must drive today. Conditions remain treacherous.


POSTED THURSDAY AT 8:15 AM

It’s been a busy couple of days for meteorologist Andrew Pritchard. He’s been closely tracking the winter storm that has dumped snow and ice across much of the country, including here in Illinois.

Illinois Newsroom’s Brian Moline spoke with Andrew about what people can expect if they have to head outside this morning.

Pritchard says we should expect another 2-4 inches of snow in Champaign County by 6pm today. He says that snow will continue to blow and drift, especially in rural areas.


POSTED THURSDAY AT 7:40 AM

Snow has completely covered all highways in Champaign County. That includes interstates 57, 72 and 74, as well as U.S. Highway 36 through Rantoul and U.S. Route 45 through Savoy.

In the cities, roads are snow packed.

Urbana Public Works Deputy Director Vince Gustafson says the major arterial roads are passable. He still requests that those who can stay home, do so.

Both Champaign and Urbana have focused on plowing the main roads. Gustafson says that the Urbana Public Works Department started plowing some residential areas last night. However, as snow picks back up today, the department will return to its focus on primary streets.

“There will be some residential zones that have probably not even seen a plow,” Gustafson says.

However, the department will be available to smooth the way if any emergency vehicles need to get to those areas.

Champaign County did not plow the rural roads overnight, because wind speeds in the rural areas made it hard for snow crews to see. Although high wind speeds continue, the county crews have restarted their road clearing efforts this morning.

The Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District has changed some of its bus routes to avoid snow-blocked areas like side streets. MTD has listed specific route changes on its website.

In addition, the Champaign County Area Rural Transit Service is not operating at all.


POSTED THURSDAY AT 6:00 AM

Crews in Danville working hard to keep streets open  

Danville public works director Carl Carpenter says street crews were able to keep up with yesterday’s heavy snowfall.  Carpenter says the city’s arterial roads were drivable much of the day, and the break in the snow gave them an even bigger chance to catch up. Carpenter says the city concentrated on residential areas during the overnight hours to avoid having to plow several inches of heavy snow that accumulated from both snowfall events. “We currently are in our 12 hour shifts which means we’re running half the crew from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and the other crew will come in at 7pm and work through the night,” said Carpenter.  “From what I’m seeing the lull should last about 6 to 8 hours and that will give us enough time to get into our residentials.” If you’re in Danville and you think your neighborhood was skipped, call public works at 217.431.3452.


POSTED THURSDAY AT 5:30 AM

The National Weather Service in Lincoln says steady snow continues to roll across Illinois.


POSTED WEDNESDAY AT 9:30 PM

More snow expected to move in after midnight, impacting areas south of I-72 and Danville

 


POSTED WEDNESDAY AT 4:00 PM

The National Weather Service in Central Illinois says blowing and drifting snow with 1-3 foot drifts are forming with north wind gusts 25-40 mph. Visibilities are reduced as well. 

Our first round of heavy, drifting snow is starting to come to an end. But round two is on the way! Illinois Newsroom’s Reginald Hardwick talked with Meteorologist Andrew Pritchard about what’s ahead for us tonight, tomorrow and this weekend.


POSTED WEDNESDAY AT 3:45 PM

Champaign County will stop plowing snow off rural roads at sundown tonight.

Jeff Blue is a Champaign County engineer. He says high forecasted winds will make plowing at night both unhelpful and dangerous.

“The forecasted gusts of winds are 35 miles per hour tonight. [With] white out conditions during dark hours, we just can’t see where we’re going. We become more of a hazard than we are helping out there,” Blue says.

The county plans to reassess conditions in the morning. Blue says he does not expect the high winds to stop — or for road conditions to improve – until Friday.

In the meantime, his department will station plows throughout the county in case an ambulance or fire truck gets stuck in the snow.

None of the other snow crews in the area have announced similar pauses. Spokespeople in the Champaign and Urbana public works departments say that they plan to continue to work through the night. 

According to Urbana Deputy Public Works Director Vince Gustafson, winds don’t pose the same risk to urban snow crews as they do in rural areas. 


POSTED WEDNESDAY AT 1:35 PM

Heavy snow impacting Danville

DANVILLE – More closures and cancellations in Vermilion County as heavy snow continues to fall there.   Several schools have already moved to close Thursday as snow accumulation continues to build throughout Danville and Vermilion County. According to local authorities, the road conditions are hazardous and several traffic accidents have been reported on both city and rural roads. The city is asking residents to keep their cars off of public streets to allow snow removal crews to move snow quickly. Danville has also halted all public transportation services until at least Friday. 

IDOT cameras also show numerous traffic issues in McLean county.


POSTED WEDNESDAY AT 12:25 PM

The National Weather Service is warning that increasing winds and heavy snow are causing treacherous road conditions as well as terrible visibility. 


POSTED WEDNESDAY AT 12:00 PM


POSTED WEDNESDAY AT 10:30 AM

Snowfall in Champaign County has gotten heavier over the last hour and a half, making plowing more difficult for local snow crews.

“Right now, the snow exceeds our capacity. We finish a route and you can hardly tell we were there,” says Urbana Deputy Public Works Director Vince Gustafson.

Gustafson’s crews started plowing around 11 p.m on Tuesday. The crews are slightly short-staffed at about 13 full time people per shift. Some employees are home because of COVID-19, and there are a few vacancies in the department.

Rantoul snow crews started to plow at around 3:30 a.m. Nine people make up the full snow crew.

“We’re in some pretty heavy snow. It’s all we can do to keep up,” says Rantoul street foreman Mike Esslinger.

Esslinger says the snow has largely closed the roads in Rantoul.

Snow has blanketed every highway in the county, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. This now includes Interstates 57 and 74. The stretches of those highways between Champaign, Rantoul and Mahomet were the last to switch from IDOT’s “mostly covered” category to fully covered.

To see updated maps of Champaign County highways, visit gettingaroundillinois.com


POSTED WEDNESDAY AT 9:20 AM

Snowfall rates and the number of vehicle crashes continue to increase. 


POSTED WEDNESDAY AT 8:25 AM

Central Illinoisans are waking up to a Winter Storm Warning. Steady snowfall is underway and forecasters expect a foot of snow before the system leaves us tomorrow evening. Illinois Newsroom’s Reginald Hardwick talked with meteorologist Andrew Pritchard about what we can expect through the day, as well as tonight and tomorrow.


POSTED WEDNESDAY AT 8:05 AM

The National Weather Service says 1 to 2 inches of snow has already fallen in the Champaign Urbana area this morning. Peoria has already received 8 to 12 inches of snow. And the Quincy area on Illinois’ western border has 12 to 18 inches of fresh snow this morning. Within the hour, the Illinois State police closed southbound I-55 near Lexington in the northern part of McLean County because of multiple crashes. The Illinois Department of Transportation is urging you to stay home and off of the roads if you can. 

We have a live Facebook video right now looking north from our Illinois Public Media studios towards the intersection of Goodwin and University Avenue in Urbana.


POSTED WEDNESDAY AT 7:30 AM

Light snow and ice has covered the roads all over Champaign County. 

Purple indicates highways that are covered in snow or ice. Pink means “mostly covered.” Illinois Department of Transportation

According to Champaign County engineer Jeff Blue, the roads are safe to drive for now, as long as drivers use caution. 

“Things are slippery, but they’re not packed up and hazardous yet,” Blue says. 

The first Champaign County crews started plowing rural roads on Wednesday morning, after about an inch of snow had accumulated. 

Blue expects conditions to worse throughout the day. 

The Illinois Department of Transportation maintains and updates a winter conditions map on gettingaroundillinois.com

According to the map, highways like Interstate 72 are covered in snow or ice throughout Champaign County. Conditions are slightly better on the stretches of I-57 and I-74 between Champaign and Rantoul and Mahomet, respectively. 

While the roads were relatively clear in the south of Champaign County at 6 a.m, those highways are now covered in snow as well. 


POSTED WEDNESDAY AT 6:00 AM

Steady snowfall across the Champaign-Urbana area.

 


POSTED WEDNESDAY AT 12:35 AM

The National Weather Service reports the changeover to icy precipitation is approaching the Champaign and Decatur areas. This will make roadways very slick.


POSTED WEDNESDAY AT 12:25 AM

With a massive winter storm expected to blanket the entire state in ice and snow, Gov. JB Pritzker on Tuesday issued a disaster declaration and activated members of the Illinois National Guard. He also announced that his regularly scheduled State of the State and budget address would go on as planned at noon Wednesday, only at a new venue – the Old State Capitol in Springfield. Read more below from Capitol News Illinois.

Pritzker declares disaster for snow event; will forge ahead with in-person budget address


POSTED TUESDAY AT 11:40 PM

Many education instutions will hold “remonte learning days” on Wednesday because of the forecasted winter storm, including:

  • University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • Champaign Unit 4 Schools
  • Urbana School District 116
  • Decatur Public Schools
  • Monticello CUSD #25
  • Eastern Illinois University

Many city and county office buildings will be closed on Wednesday and Thursday, including:

  • Champaign City Building
  • Champaign County Courthouse and Sheriff’s Administrative office
  • Urbana City Building, Public Works Building, Landscape Recycling Center, and Urbana Free Library
  • Champaign-Urbana Public Health District,  including locations in Champaign, Rantoul and Watseka
  • Vermilion County offices
  • City of Danville buildings
  • Macon County Health Department

This is just a PARTIAL list of the closings. Click here for the full list of winter storm closings and cancelations.


POSTED TUESDAY AT 11:25 PM

The National Weather Service reports that the winter storm is changing over from rain to a freezing rain/sleet mixture as it advances southeast. Heavy snow has already begun in the Peoria area.


POSTED TUESDAY AT 5:15 PM

Champaign, Urbana crews plan to start plowing tonight

CHAMPAIGN — Snow crews across Champaign County plan to work twelve-hour shifts – starting tonight — to clear the roads.

In the city of Champaign, 25 people will staff each shift. The first shift is scheduled to start on Tuesday night around 11 p.m.

Champaign Public Works spokesperson Kris Koester says this is a once-in-a-decade kind of storm for his department.

“We’ve had prolonged snow over several days, but within a day and a half – that’s going to be a lot of snow coming in a short amount of time,” Koester says.

Koester requests that people stay home and park off the road as much as possible on Wednesday and Thursday.

Those who have to drive in the city of Champaign can expect primary streets like Bradley Avenue and State Street to be clearer than side streets. (Find the city’s map of primary streets here.)

“We estimate that 90 percent of people live within two to three blocks of a primary street, so if you can get to a primary street, you’ll see that things are in a little bit better condition,” Koester says.

But, Koester says not to expect any streets to be completely clear until the snow stops.

For those who do have to drive, Koester recommends driving slowly — with a full tank of gas and a working cell phone.

Urbana and Champaign County also plan to send out crews on Tuesday night to plow the snow. 10 people staff each Champaign County shift, while 12 people staff Urbana’s.

All three local governments plan to keep alternating crews every twelve hours until the snow stops.


POSTED TUESDAY AT 5:00 PM

Risky travel wrought by snow, wind cancels legislative work

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois General Assembly has canceled its three scheduled days of session this week as the central part of the state prepares for a major winter storm expected to bring heavy snow, ice and high wind gusts to the region. Gov. J.B. Pritzker declared a state of emergency ahead of the storm which forced lawmakers to cancel meetings on Tuesday through Thursday. Wednesday was set aside for a joint legislative session to hear Pritzker deliver the annual State of the State address and propose a new state spending plan. Pritzker will proceed with the speech, but at the historic Old State Capitol in downtown Springfield. – Associated Press

This afternoon, the National Weather Service expanded the Winter Storm Warning to include more counties. Meteorologists say drivers hould expect very difficult travel across the Midwest through Thursday.


POSTED TUESDAY AT 2:50 PM

According to the National Weather Service in Central Illinois, the heaviest snowfall will happen Wednesday 3:00-6:00 a.m. 


POSTED TUESDAY 2:44 PM

The University of Illinois says it will NOT close for the winter weather but there will only be ‘essential operations’ essential operations on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Classes will move to online.


POSTED TUESDAY, 2:00 PM

Governor JB Pritzker is expected to provide updates on preparations for the winter storm from the IEMA State Emergency Operations Center at 2:00 p.m. Click here to stream his announcements.

The Illinois Department of Transportation is advising people to stay home while the winter storm crosses Illinois. For drivers who must travel, they are advising they build an emergency kit in case they become stranded on snow covered highways.


POSTED TUESDAY, 1:30 PM

City and school closures are starting to pour into Illinois Public Media News. Danville District 118 and Monticello CUSD #25 will be closed Wednesday and Thursday. Also closed on those days: the Champaign City Building, Township office, and Public Library as well as the Champaign County Courthouse and Sheriff’s Administrative office. Click here to check for closings around East Central Illinois.

The National Weather Service in Lincoln is warning people not to be fooled by this afternoon’s warm weather. Much colder air and heavy snowfall are still on the way. They’re also offering advice on properly measuring and reporting the snow that falls.


POSTED TUESDAY, 8:00 AM

The Village of Rantoul in Champaign County will enact emergency snow routes starting Tuesday at 11:00 p.m. Vehicles along snow routes will be towed. Public Works and Recreation staff will begin de-icing and plowing operations late Tuesday, early Wednesday morning. The village plans to staff the phone number 217.892.6800 from Tuesday at midnight to Friday at 5:00 p.m. for anyone in the public needing assistance or resources during the storm event. 

Danville Public Works says plows will begin clearing streets with “two passes on each street” while the snowfalls. They’ll clear snow curb to curb after it comes to an end. They’re asking people to clear cars off of streets before the storm.


POSTED TUESDAY, 7:45 AM

The National Weather Service updated its forecast earlier this morning. The heaviest snowfall rates and most difficult travel will start Wednesday morning.


POSTED MONDAY, 11:20 PM


POSTED MONDAY, 8:00 PM

URBANA – Wondering where all the snow this winter went? It may arrive during the first week of February 2022.

The National Weather Service in Lincoln placed much of Central Illinois under a Winter Storm Warning from Tuesday at 9:00 p.m.-Thursday 6:00 p.m. Meteorologists say up to a foot of snow is possible. The warning area includes Springfield, Decatur, Bloomington, Champaign-Urbana and Danville.

“A major winter storm will bring significant snow accumulation & a wintry mix Tue night into Thu.,” says the NWS in a tweet issued Monday at 4:30 p.m CT. The weather service advised people to brace for the following:

  • dangerous to impossible travel
  • power outages
  • blowing and drifting snow Wednesday night into Thursday

Chambana weather meteorologist Andrew Pritchard is also watching the forecasts carefully. He says the winter storm will begin with rain.

“Preciptation will begin as rain on Tuesday afternoon transitioning into a wintry mix as temperatures fall below freezing Tuesday night,” says Pritchard. “Snow will begin to accumulate on Wednesday morning and then continue into the day on Thursday. Significant snow accumulation of around one foot is possible by Thursday evening with locally higher amounts possible.”


POSTED MONDAY, 10:00 AM

The National Weather Service in Lincoln issued a Winter Storm Watch for central and southeast Illinois. It begins Tuesday evening north of I-70, and lasts through Thursday evening. It indicates the risk of a hazardous winter weather event has increased (at least a 50% chance of it occurring), but its occurrence, location, and/or timing is still uncertain.

“Snow accumulations over 8 inches are likely in a large portion of central Illinois, Tuesday night through Thursday night. However, the potential is there for double-digit amounts,” said the NWS in a tweet issued Monday at 3:45 a.m. CT.

As of Monday, meteorologists expected a mix of freezing rain and sleet changing over to all snow on Wednesday. The National Weather Service in Lincoln forecasted areas south of I-70 will most likely see the wintry mix. And regardless of where you must travel on Wednesday and Thursday, it’s expected to be difficult. 

As for the snow, Illinois Public Media meteorologist Andrew Pritchard said more accurate snow totals will become available on Monday. However several inches of snow are possible.

“It is possible one or more periods of heavy snowfall may occur on Wednesday and Thursday. In Champaign-Urbana, ensemble forecasts give a greater than 99% chance of more than 3″ of snow accumulation, with a 95% chance of more than 6″ of snow by Friday morning,” said Pritchard.