SATURDAY: Partly sunny and warmer with showers and thunderstorms developing by mid- afternoon. High: 85. Winds: Southwest 10-15 mph.
SATURDAY NIGHT: Showers and thunderstorms likely. Low: 62. Winds: West 5-10 mph.
Area Plows Ready For Storm
The snowstorm Thursday will be the first significant snowfall in Springfield this winter season. With the possible 2-4 inches of snow coming our way, many area public works facilities are gearing up their plows and getting their salt ready.
There is not much the Sangamon County Highway Department and the Illinois Department of Transportation can do until the snowstorm actually hits. All they can do is wait and prepare for what Mother Nature has in store.
"We really just react to what's out there," county engineer Tim Zahrn said. "We do as much of advance planning as we can and a lot of our staff has been through several snow storms and different winter events so they know what different treatments work in different situations."
Rain, snow, sleet and possible freezing rain could cause messy roads this afternoon into your commute back from work. However, IDOT officials said they will try to keep up with the storm.
"We're always on-call watching the radar, and as the storm gets closer that's when we start mobilizing our forces for snow removal," IDOT Operations Engineer Rick Weaver said.
IDOT's snow removal team covers 15 different counties, sending out nearly 35 plows in Sangamon County alone. On a typical snow storm, whether it is two inches or twenty, IDOT's three-ton trucks spread nearly 400 tons of salt per storm.
"When there is a lot of snow on the ground, since it doesn't do any good, we typically just do a plowing operation, but once the snow has stopped, the roads are plowed down, that's when we start applying our salt and try to get things cleaned up," Weaver said.
Both the Sangamon County Highway Department and IDOT are ready to take on all of the elements that will soon hit central Illinois. However, they are urging area residents to drive safely and be aware of road conditions.
"Plan ahead and have that winter safety kit in your car," Zahrn said. "Look at the news services and get as much information as you can before you go out there. Have a charged cellphone just in case you do get stranded someplace so that you can make a call and just be prepared."
The Sangamon County Board office is reminding county residents that they can monitor the driving conditions on county highways by visiting the county’s web site and clicking on the link titled "Winter Weather County Highway Road Condition Map."
The map can be an especially helpful tool for those driving home from work later today. The map, which only covers county highways, will be updated periodically as Highway Department crews work to clear the roads.