Winter Storm Warning Until Monday Morning
By Sean Powers
Heavy snowfall is expected to continue throughout Sunday night in the Champaign-Urbana area and surrounding communities.
According to the National Weather Service, the Winter Storm Warning is in effect until 7 AM Monday morning for Champaign, Vermilion, Piatt, DeWitt, Douglas, Coles and Ford Counties, and until 1 AM Monday morning for Macon and Moultrie.
New snow accumulation in the area on Sunday evening could be up to 8 inches. Temperatures may be as low as 26 degrees, with a north wind 18 to 21 mph and gusts as high as 33 mph.
Currently, there is limited visibility on the roads and driving conditions are hazardous.
The Illinois State Police said interstates, state roads, and county roads are extremely dangerous due to the heavy snow fall, white out conditions, drifting snow, and wet and icy road conditions.
"Travel only in the event of an emergency," Trooper Tracy Lillard said in a statement. "Interstates, state roads, and county roads are extremely dangerous due to the heavy snow fall, white out conditions, drifting snow, and wet and icy road conditions."
The City of Champaign Public Works Department has mobilized crews to clear streets.
Public Works Director Dennis Schmidt said in a statement that a crew will continue to work throughout the duration of the storm, and that city bridges were pre-treated in preparation for the snowfall.
"These crews will treat and/or clear City streets, parking lots, and sidewalks with the goal of providing for the safety and well being of the City’s citizens and visitors," Schmidt said.
The city of Urbana has also dispatched roughly 12 crew members to clear streets, but some roads are not included in its snow removal plan. It is the policy of the Urbana Public Works Department to remove all snow and ice from sidealks adjacent to City owned buildings and property.
The Champaign County Highway Department and Champaign County Emergency Management Agency advises people to only call 911 in an emergency situation, as there may be a high number of accidents.
The Illinois State Police has advised that Interstate 57 is extremely hazardous.
The University of Illinois canceled today on Monday on its Urbana campus. However, the university remains open.
According to the U of I, as a matter of policy, the Urbana campus does not fully close.
"The residential and research aspects of operations make it impossible to close the entire campus," said U of I spokeswoman Robin Kaler. "In conditions such as those we are experiencing, employees must decide whether they are able to report to work. Those who do not are expected to notify their supervisor and use appropriate leave benefits."