Winter storm's first wave wallops McLean County, with another 1-3 inches coming Thursday
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The first wave of a major winter storm dropped nearly 10 inches of snow on Bloomington-Normal on Wednesday, with another couple inches expected Thursday. The storm snarled travel and kept schoolchildren and many workers at home.
As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, snowfall totals included 12 inches in Downs, 10.5 inches in Towanda, and 9 inches in Bloomington.
Snow tapered off Wednesday afternoon and is expected to resume after midnight. Another 1 to 3 inches are expected in Bloomington-Normal by Thursday night.
While it's a lot of snow, it doesn't appear to be a record-breaker: The highest two-day snowfall total in recorded history in Normal was 21 inches, set on Feb. 28, 1900.
Bloomington and Normal police pleaded with people to stay off the roads Wednesday unless absolutely necessary.
Drifting snow and visibility are becoming a real problem, Normal Police said Wednesday afternoon. Normal Police reported multiple vehicles were stuck in the snow around the Main and Beaufort around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.
- At 10:30 a.m. Wednesday: Multiple jackknifed semitrailer trucks blocked westbound Interstate 74 between Farmer City and Mansfield, at milepost 163.
- Earlier Wednesday: Interstate 74 westbound at milepost 158 (near Farmer City) was shut down due to multiple crashes and hazardous conditions. Traffic is rerouted onto U.S. 150.
- Interstate 55 southbound at milepost 178 (near Lexington) was shut down for several hours due to multiple crashes. McLean County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) said at 1:30 p.m. I-55 reopened briefly but the southbound lanes had to be closed following another crash.
According to the City of Bloomington, all roads are snow covered as city public works crews started with 24 snowplow drivers on the streets starting late Tuesday.
"All roads are currently covered with various amounts of snow as crews work at keeping the main streets passable. Travel is strongly discouraged," city spokesperson Katherine Murphy said, adding that blowing and drifting snow may cause additional hazards for drivers.
Several flights were already canceled at Central Illinois Regional Airport in Bloomington. You can track flights on the airport’s website.
There were no major power outages reported as of midday Wednesday by Ameren or Corn Belt Energy.