National Weather Service meteorologists continue to forecast snowfall for Franklin County through around noon today, Dec. 26, and say wind gusts could keep the snow on the move and affecting visibility through late afternoon.
Trained NWS weather spotters are reporting snowfall totals between 4 and 7 inches in Southern Illinois, as of 6 a.m. A total of 6 to 12 inches is expected in Franklin County. Officials say the snowfall will be difficult to measure because it is blowing and drifting. Wind gusts are measuring 30 to 40 miles per hour.
This is making travel extremely dangerous. While roads may not be extremely slick at this point, visibility is very low, and it can be difficult to even find the roads.
Road crews are out working, but say it will be impossible to keep roadways safe until the snow and winds have died down.
Officials are urging people to stay home. Schools are closed for the Christmas break, and all county offices and the courthouse are closed, as well as local healthcare centers. FranklinCounty-News.com is receiving reports that many other businesses will be closed today, including many private medical offices. If you have appointments today, you are advised to call first to see if the business is planning to open before leaving home.
Officials also remind you that calls to 911 should be reserved for emergency situations only. Do not call 911 to try to get updates on road conditions or closures.
FranklinCounty-News.com has a continuously updated list of weather-related closures at this link.
For road condition information, check the Getting Around Illinois Web site, or call 1-800-452-4368.
Cold wind gusts can also be damaging to skin and increase frostbite threat. If you must venture outside, you should ensure that your face and hands are covered, leaving no exposed skin. While children may be itching to get outside this morning, it is best to keep them in until the storm has passed and the winds have subsided. The good news for the kiddos, though, is that the snow won’t be going anywhere, and it’s heavy and wet — just right for making an epic snowman when it’s safe to do so.