HARRISBURG – A storm that marched across Illinois was on its way out late Friday, but not before it dumped a foot of snow and more in some areas, had police scrambling to respond to dozens of accidents and forced scores of schools to remain closed.
National Weather Service meteorologist Christine Wielgos said that the storm was tapering off quickly late Friday afternoon and that the weather service expected no more than an inch or so of new snow would fall between late Friday afternoon and early Saturday, when the storm was expected to leave the state. She also said that temperatures would dip into the single digits Friday night and that Saturday they would get no higher than the high teens or low 20s.
The storm prompted officials to declare a state of emergency for at least one county – Jackson County, according to The Carbondale Southern Illinoisan, which reported that the snow, sleet and ice had rendered some primary roads in the county treacherous and left some secondary roads impassable.
But the recommendation by law enforcement to stay off the roads made treacherous by ice and the warning that anyone who had to drive to be extremely careful appeared to be paying off. The Belleville News Democrat reported that the Illinois State Police said that six accidents were reported during Friday's morning commute compared with 40 ice-related crashes on Thursday.
"The most important thing for people to remember is that when it is icy they shouldn't drive 45 or 55 because that's what the speed limit signs say," Trooper Calvin Dye told the paper. "We're urging people to slow down for their own safety and for the safety of other people on the road."
Meanwhile, the storm had changed some weekend plans. The 23rd annual Fantastic Parade that was scheduled for Saturday night in Carbondale was canceled. WSIL-TV reported that officials in charge of the parade were considering "options for a float viewing event on Saturday," thought details were not yet available.