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Another blast from Mother Nature

Visibility down to zero in some spots

Published: Monday, Jan. 27, 2014 2:16 p.m. CST • Updated: Monday, Jan. 27, 2014 2:19 p.m. CST
Caption
(BCR photo/Donna Barker)
Though winds subsided significantly overnight, snow continues to blow across piles of pushed snow Monday morning on the west edge of Princeton. Most schools throughout Bureau County and the Midwest were cancelled due to Monday's subzero temps. The Illinois Department of Transportation issued a statement Monday saying road conditions are dangerous, urging motorists to stay off the highways.

Winter isn’t giving Bureau County a break, with continuing frigid temperatures and hazardous traveling.

On Monday morning, Bureau County Sheriff John Thompson said traveling conditions remain “terrible and hazardous” throughout the county. Bureau County easily has 50 or 60 vehicles in the ditches from Sunday’s storm, with its freezing precipitation on the road and white-out conditions. Those vehicles have been checked, and there is no one still stranded, he said.

Thompson recommended people don’t travel until all roadways are cleared. But if people do have to travel, his recommendation is to slow down and take your time when driving anywhere.

On Monday, Bureau County ESDA (Emergency Services and Disaster Agency) Coordinator Kris Donarski said she was not contacted by area law enforcement to ask for an emergency shelter to be opened for any stranded motorists. Drivers who may have pulled off Interstate 80 during Sunday’s storm were apparently able to find their own shelter at local hotels and restaurants.

The best safety plan she can recommend to area residents when roads are bad is for people to stay home and travel only in the case of a true emergency, Donarski said. However at all times, people should have an emergency safety kit filled and in their vehicle where it can be easily reached, not in the trunk.

Also, motorists should carry a cell phone and charger with them, plus blankets and appropriate outerwear. Let people know when you are traveling and the route you are taking. But again, the best plan is to not go out when the road conditions are bad, Donarski said.

On a good note, the weekend conditions were not as bad as they have been in the recent past for the Bureau County Highway Department.

On Monday, Bureau County Highway Engineer John Gross said the saving grace with the weekend storm is the fact there wasn’t a lot of new snowfall, just an inch or so. There were some snowdrifts in some places but certainly not as bad as experienced earlier this month when the county received several inches of snow and also had high winds, he said.

Though driving conditions were not good at times on Sunday, especially with white-out conditions, it seems most people were able to stay home, since the storm happened during a weekend when most people weren’t working or in school, Gross said.

Another good thing about this most recent storm, compared to the early January storm, is the fact the true temperature wasn’t as bad this time. The early January storm had a true temperature of 18 or 19 degrees below zero. Monday morning’s true temperature was 6 degrees below, he said.

The coldest temperatures of the year could happen early today, Tuesday, according to WQAD News Channel 8 meteorologist James Zahara.

By sunrise today, Tuesday, the actual temperature will range between 10 to 20 degrees below zero, with wind chills easily dropping that temperature feeling to 30 to 40 degrees below zero, Zahara said.

Fortunately, temperatures on Wednesday will be much better, up to maybe 20 degrees above zero, Zahara said. Light snowfall is expected for Thursday, with the Quad Cities area expected to end its work week with more unseasonably cold weather, he said.

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