First major winter storm of '19 just a bad memory now

RANTOUL — Rantoul Airport was not the place to be last  Wednesday morning — as if anyplace outdoors was suitable.

A wind chill of minus 47 at the airport was the lowest recorded reading in Champaign County during the day’s bone-chilling storm that brought most of central Illinois to a standstill.

Willard Airport, Champaign, had the lowest temperature recorded at minus 16. The previous record low for that date was minus 13 set in 1936.

The coldest temperature in central Illinois was recorded in Normal and Galesburg each with minus 21, bettering the previous record of minus 15 and minus 13, respectively, both set in 1966.

Rantoul set up two warming centers in case people had no place to stay, but no one took advantage of them, Village Administrator Scott Eisenhauer said.

Warming centers
Centers where people could escape the life-threatening cold were set up at the Rantoul police station and at Forum Fitness Center.

Eisenhauer said the fact no one came in is “perhaps a good indication that people planned ahead and had shelter identified.”

The police department was identified as the first place where people should go because full-time staff were on duty, and if that filled up the fitness center would have been used with volunteers assisting those staying there.

Eisenhauer said local resident Debbra Sweat, village trustee Sam Hall and Human Resources Manager Tony Peyton had volunteered with others to be present if needed.

“We had some terrific donations as well,” Eisenhauer said. “People dropped off bags of winter clothing. We took most of that to the police department. If there are people in need of winter clothing, they can go to the Recreation Department on Flessner Avenue.”

Eisenhauer said Community Service Center also donated apples, oranges and granola bars.

Frozen pipes
Assistant Public Works Director Jake McCoy said many residents reported frozen pipes, and the municipal building had a problem, but conditions weren’t as bad he thought they were going to be.

“We’ve had, on the service side in people’s houses, pipes breaking and some meter issues,” McCoy said.

He said public works personnel will meet with individuals whose pipes are frozen to provide information, but it is up to the residents to fix the damage.

“We will meet with them if they want us to and verify the pipes are frozen,” he said. “After that it’s pretty much their responsibility to heat the pipes back up.”

McCoy said it is a good idea to have the tap running when heating up the pipes. Often, it is when the water is thawed that residents learn their pipes have broken.

He said the only problem on village property was frozen pipes in the bathroom on the north side of the municipal building.


Categories (2):News, Weather


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