Drifting snow creates challenging driving conditions, colder wind chills expected this week

Local News

TREMONT, Ill. (WMBD) – Heavy winds on Wednesday created challenging driving conditions in Central Illinois.

Eight to nine degrees above normal, this past December was the third-warmest on record for the Peoria area. During the past week, the situation has looked much different.

“I think this is kind of a shock to our system going from December to actually below normal temperatures in early January,” said Kirk Huettl, a meteorologist with National Weather Service.

For Tuesday night and portions of Wednesday morning, the National Weather Service issued a wind advisory for the region. Lingering snow from the New Year’s Day winter storm caused an advisory change for Wednesday until 6 p.m.

“We started to get issues with some of the snow pact blowing and drifting, so it was causing some accidents, so we had to upgrade to a winter weather advisory,” Huettl said.

Tazewell County engineer Craig Fink said drifting snow can create challenges, especially in rural areas.

“[There’s] a lot more open space without trees or buildings to block what the winds going to do,” Fink said.

Drifting snow in some cases has caused Tazewell County snowplow drivers to focus on some stretches of roads more than once.

“We kind of joke that you’re actually chasing the same snow back and forth across the roadway as the wind direction changes,” Fink said.

Fink said each day his department ensures snow removal equipment and salt is ready, but drivers must do their part and be cautious.

“You can have a really good stretch of road and it seems like everything is taken care of and suddenly you find a spot where there’s no traction, and it can be dangerous very quickly,” Fink said.

With wind chills expected to drop in the -15 or -20 range on Thursday and Friday, Huettl said frostbite can happen in just minutes. He said the community should dress for the conditions.

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