National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

A strong but fast moving storm system lifted northeast across the Midwest on Wednesday. Rain changed to snow during the early morning, and persisted into the evening across parts of east central Illinois. The snow mainly fell in areas from about I-55 eastward, and was heaviest along the Indiana border northward to Lake Michigan.  Strong winds in excess of 40 mph produced blizzard conditions at times. Travel was significantly impacted, with dozens of vehicle accidents reported. 


Snowfall Reports:

Snowfall totals were difficult for observers to measure, due to a few items:

  • Due to the wet nature of the snow, and the fact that temperatures were above freezing much of the time, the snow compacted faster than usual. Because of this, the observers may not have measured the snow at the peak accumulation. This is especially true for those observers who did not report until the regular time on Thursday morning. 
  • Wind gusts of 40+ mph caused some blowing and drifting. Measurements were more difficult in open areas versus locations that had buildings, trees, etc. around to block the wind.

In the list below, official reports are show in the first column, as well as on the image. These reports are taken from cooperative weather observers. These totals are preliminary, until certified by the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). Unofficial observations are taken from a combination of sources, including CoCoRaHS stations, the Significant Weather Observer Program (SWOP), and public reports via social media.

Official reports:

    PARIS SEWAGE PLANT       6.0
    NEOGA 4NW                5.5
    KINCAID 3W               5.4
    BEECHER CITY             5.3
    NEWTON                   5.2
    LOVINGTON                4.2
    TUSCOLA                  4.0
    NORMAL 4NE               4.0
    OGDEN                    3.9
    MOWEAQUA 2S              3.5
    SIDELL 5NW               3.4
    CLINTON                  3.3
    CISCO                    3.1
    SULLIVAN 3S              3.0
    FLORA                    3.0
    FARMER CITY 3W           3.0
    FISHER                   3.0
    CASEY                    3.0
    ARTHUR 1W                3.0
    SPRINGFIELD              2.6
    PANA SEWAGE PLANT        2.0
    CHENOA                   2.0
    BUFFALO                  2.0
    MT PULASKI               2.0
    CLAY CITY 6SSE           1.5
    LINCOLN NWS              0.9
Unofficial reports:

    HENNING 3SSE           6.0
    BISMARCK 3W            6.0
    DECATUR                6.0
    HOMER 2N               5.2
    DANVILLE 3S            5.0
    LE ROY                 5.0
    DANVILLE 1NW           4.5
    DE LAND                4.5
    LE ROY 4.1SSW          4.0
    EFFINGHAM              4.4
    CLINTON                4.3
    CHRISMAN 4ESE          4.0
    DEWEY 2NNW             4.0
    MODE 4NW               4.0
    BROCTON                4.0
    LANE                   4.0
    URBANA 1SSE            3.9
    PARIS 10SE             3.8
    BROADLANDS             3.5
    CHAMPAIGN 2SSE         3.5
    BLOOMINGTON 3NE        3.5
    BLOOMINGTON 3SW        3.3
    SIDNEY 1N              3.1
    EDINBURG 3W            3.0
    ST JOSEPH 1SSW         3.0
    CHATHAM 2E             2.5
    SHIRLEY 3NNW           2.2
    WATSON                 2.0
    NORMAL 2ESE            2.0
    TAYLORVILLE 1ENE       1.7


24-hour snowfall ending at 7 am Thursday, February 25
(click to enlarge)



Wind Gusts:

Many locations reported wind gusts which exceeded 40 mph during the event. There were a few stations in excess of 50 mph, including Willard Airport near Savoy (56 mph) and Coles County Memorial Airport near Mattoon (55 mph). 

Wind gusts from February 24th

A Blizzard Warning was issued for east central Illinois before sunrise on Wednesday. The official NWS definition of a "blizzard" is "sustained or frequent wind gusts of at least 35 mph, with visibility of 1/4 mile or less due to falling or blowing snow, for at least 3 hours."  Note there is no specific snowfall accumulation threshold.