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  • Fairbury News staff

Area digs out from storm

A snow pile in rural Fairbury shown Thursday afternoon.

While it may not have been the storm of the century, it sure seemed like it for some.

Many don’t remember this much snow falling in Livingston County and the surrounding areas since one of the last major snowstorms in February 2011. The National Weather Service in Lincoln listed Pontiac as receiving 12 inches as of late Wednesday evening. Chenoa was in the 4 to 6-inch range while Fairbury received 8 to 12 inches.

“Specifically for February 2, I know Lincoln and Peoria set daily snowfall records,” said Alex Erwin, a National Weather Service meteorologist out of the Lincoln office.

An area from Quincy through Peoria to the southern Chicago metro region received the heaviest snow this week and several locations had a foot or more, especially around Canton and Peoria. It was a different story south of Interstate 70 which had extensive periods of ice, snow and rain. According to Erwin, many towns came in below the all-time snowfall records.

“We saw heavy snow reports across the area with as much as 10 to 12 inches and localized amounts of 13 inches along the Illinois River Valley,” Erwin explained.

Fairbury Street Superintendent Martin Steidinger reported most streets were cleared of snow as of early Thursday afternoon. His department put in plenty of hours over the past couple of days.

“We started out about 2:30 (Wednesday) morning and basically ran around the clock,” he explained. “We quit last night at 4:30 just because we had everything opened up and it was driveable.”

Aside from a garbage truck sliding from a driveway and a snowplow sliding off an alley, storm cleanup efforts mostly went well, Steidinger reported. The city has created snow piles on Locust Street downtown which will likely be hauled away Friday.

“You have to go around snow piles to get through the intersections,” added Steidinger.

The piles will be squared up to give cars more room to drive around them. Once they are hauled off, everything should be back to normal in Fairbury. Some streets remain snow packed but that will come off with salt and eventual sunshine.

While some area schools were on remote learning due to the blast of wintry weather, others encouraged kids to get creative. Prairie Central Junior High School in Forrest held an online snowman contest while students at Prairie Central Primary West in Chenoa were presented with a curious challenge of what they were going to do on a snow day.

Treacherous road conditions continued into a second day Thursday due to blowing and drifting of snow, especially in the rural open areas. This led to another round of school cancellations, business closings and postponements. A final round of snow impacted areas near and south of Interstate 72 around Danville.

The biggest concern was on east-west oriented roads where the snow drifted back onto the road surface even after it had been plowed. McLean County’s Emergency Management Agency reported more than 32 accidents on roads during a 24-hour period ending Thursday morning.

Prairie Central Superintendent Paula Crane announced late Thursday afternoon that school would not be in session for a third day on Friday, although an official decision on extra-curricular activities, such as Friday’s home basketball game, would be made later.

A positive weather change is on the way even though the cold temperatures will stick around for the start of the weekend. The Central Illinois forecast is actually dry through Wednesday as we warm-up with more seasonal temperatures into the 30s by the middle of the week.

“That will be a welcome change after this big system,” noted Erwin.

Snow blows over a rural Livingston County road south of Fairbury Wednesday.

Snow is cleared from a rural driveway south of Fairbury Thursday.

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