“Winter Storm Ion” Hampers Travel, Causes Closings
By Jim Meadows
An Emergency Management spokesman is advising against travel in Champaign County, as a winter storm moves through central and southeast Illinois on Sunday.
“As the snow continues to fall, winds begin to pick up and the temperature falls to below zero a very dangerous situation is developing”, wrote Champaign County EMA spokesman Rick Atterberry in an email to news media. Atterberry added that visibility outside Champaign-Urbana had become “very limited”.
Snow Emergency Routes have been activated in some towns, including Danville and Hoopeston.
The Illinois Department of Transportation reported that as of this morning, Winter Storm Ion was bringing snow, and in some cases, freezing rain, to a majority of the state.The heaviest snow is expected southeast of the Taylorville to Champaign line, with 5 to 9 inches of snow accumulation forecast for Champaign and Vermilion Counties. After the storm moves through, historically cold temperatures are expected throughout Illinois with temperatures to fall to 15 below zero and wind chills ranging from 35 to 45 below zero through Tuesday.
The National Weather Service has a Winter Storm Warning in effect until Sunday night at midnight. After that, a Wind Chill Warning is in effect until Tuesday at noon. Counties covered by the warnings include Champaign, Vermilion, Piatt, DeWitt, Ford, Macon, Moultrie, Douglas and Coles Counties.
The forecast of the winter storm led several area churches to cancel their services Sunday morning. Now, additional agencies are canceling activities and closing their offices for Monday, when sub-zero temperatures are expected to follow the storm.
Urbana School District 116 has canceled classes for Monday. Classes at the Champaign Unit Four School District don’t resume until Wednesday, but the district has cancelled all other district activities and closed its offices for Monday --- except for an essential personnel group.
The Danville, Clinton, Monticello and Paxton-Buckley-Loda districts, and the Montessori School of Champaign-Urbana, have also announced the cancellation of Monday classes. The Mahomet-Seymour school district, which has no classes scheduled for Monday, has cancelled its Teachers' Institute for that day.
The Champaign Public Library and the Urbana Free Library are closed Sunday and Monday. The Mahomet Public Library is closed for Sunday. And the Danville and Tolono libraries are closed on Monday.
Courthouses are closed Monday in the Illinois 6th Judicial Circuit, which covers Champaign, Dewitt, Douglas, Macon, Moultrie and Piatt Counties.
In addition to its courthouse, Champaign County government has closed many county offices on Monday, including the Brookens Administrative Center and the Sheriff’s Administrative office.
Urbana city offices are mostly closed on Monday, and the Monday night Urbana City Council meeting has been canceled. The Champaign City Building and City of Champaign Township offices will also be closed.
In addition, offices of the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District and Douglas County Health Department will be closed on Monday. The Developmental Services Center in Champaign has cancelled its programs for Monday.
A list of closings and weather notices coming into Illinois Public Media is available on this website, under the heading “Severe Weather Closings” on the top right-hand side.