Winter storm could be one of largest in state history
Monday’s light snowfall of approximately two inches represented a calm before the storm. As of 5 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 1, those two inches were growing at what could be a record pace, as weather experts said what’s ahead could be one of the largest winter storms ever to hit Illinois.
According to meteorologists at WREX Channel 13, snow is falling at a rate of three inches per hour in some areas, which will likely result in at least 12 inches of accumulation by Wednesday morning.
As of this report, winds were picking up and expected to reach speeds of up to 45 mph, resulting in three-to six-foot drifts. Driving just a few blocks is taking several minutes while major Rockford roadways are gridlocked in certain spots.
Cars on Alpine Road were at a standstill from E. State Street north to Highcrest, drivers reported.
Monday, Jan. 31, spokesmen at the National Weather Service in Romeoville told The Rock River Times the second system of the storm may be difficult to nail down, however, Rockford could be in store for at least 18 inches of snow by Thursday, Feb. 3.
Drivers are being urged to avoid venturing out unless travel is a must. Snow is expected to cause delays and closures on dozens of roads throughout the metro Rockford-Chicago area overnight.
Several flights at Chicago Rockford International Airport, O’Hare and Midway have been canceled, joining airports in at least two dozen states affected by the westerly storm.
A Blizzard Warning has been issued for the Rockford area until 3 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 2.
According to statistics, the largest Illinois snowfall on record occurred Jan. 30-31, 1982 when a St. Louis storm dumped 25 inches on the city of Greenville.
Twenty-three inches of snow fell during the Chicago Blizzard of 1967, stranding thousands in the city and surrounding suburbs. More than 45,000 cars were abandoned while about 750 city buses were stuck on streets and expressways.
Two days before the storm, Jan. 24, 1967, temperatures reached 65 degrees.
Almost 22 inches of snow fell in Rockford twice. Between Dec. 30, 1978 through Jan. 1, 1979, 21.8 inches all but buried the Forest City.
Almost two weeks later, Jan. 12-13, 1979, a storm brought another 20 inches.
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