Southern Illinois Braces for Snow and Sub-Zero Temperatures
WSIL -- There were plenty of people taking advantage of Saturday's slightly warmer temperatures to prepare for the snow and brutal cold to come. State transportation officials say their crews are ready, and many residents are as prepared as they can be.
If you were out and about, you probably didn't see many road crews. But you couldn't have missed the crowded gas stations, grocery stores, and hardware stores. Crowded parking lots, long lines, and limited supplies are all a part of the panic that often strikes before a big winter storm event.
"I think it's best to be prepared and not need anything, than to be unprepared and then all of sudden you find you or your family needing something," insists John Fisher of Herrin.
We found Fisher stocking up on staples at the Farm Fresh in Herrin.
"Best advice, though, I think is just stay in unless you just absolutely have to be out," he adds.
That seems to be the plan for most, as many spent their Saturday loading up on much-needed supplies.
At Ace Hardware in Energy, ice melt is low and it's out of kerosene and shovels.
"We're looking at some temperatures that we haven't seen in about 20 years, and that's a concern for us," explains Illinois Department of Transportation Operations Engineer Keith Miley. "And also the wind speeds. We're worried about blowing and drifting snow."
Miley is hoping the treatment left from a previous weather event will keep his crews ahead of the storm.
"We've got a lot of residual salt out on our pavements now, which will be an advantage for us if we don't get a lot of rain leading into changing over to snow," Miley explains.
Miley says the salt will be less effective as temperatures reach below 20 degrees, so he anticipates using a sodium chloride mix.
"We're hoping that traffic volumes are low and that will be an advantage for us to do our jobs a little bit easier."
And despite all their efforts, Miley warns that whatever falls won't be melting away anytime soon.
"We're looking ahead at another storm front moving in on Wednesday so, you know, whatever's on the ground is going to be there for a while."
Miley plans on sending his crews out about two hours prior to the precipitation arriving, and they'll likely be on the roads until at least Monday evening. So if you decide to drive, be sure and watch out for the trucks.
Wind: 14 MPH
Humidity: 55 %