Five Inches of Snow Creates Travel Problems and Power Outages Friday Night and Saturday
The Salem Water Plant reported five inches of new snow on the ground, melting down to 53-hundredths of an inch of precipitation. The Centralia Water Plant recorded 3.5 inches of snow on the ground melting down to 45-hundredths of an inch of precipitation.
The Marion County Sheriff's Department reports major highways are mostly wet, while secondary roads remain slushy and slick. Conditions are expected to worsen Saturday night as many of the secondary roads freeze over as a result of the colder temperatures. As of 7 Saturday night the only downstate interstate listed as having scattered slippery spots was I-70 from east of Effingham to the Indiana border.
A number of Marion County residents were in the dark Saturday morning due to power outages mostly blamed on the heavy snow breaking off tree limbs or bringing down power lines. Ameren had nearly 1,500 customers without power Saturday morning, with most of those east of Centralia, in the Kell area, and in Aviston in Clinton County. Tri-County Electric had just over 500 customers off for a lengthy period of time Saturday morning, but by mid-afternoon had restored all power. All of Tri-County's lengthy outages were in small cluster and didn't effect large numbers of customers.
Interstate 57 was the biggest problem for police Friday night. There were numerous vehicles that ran off the highway. One near the Jefferson County line was reported to have injuries, but no reports were immediately available. The Kinmundy-Alma Fire Department had to use the lights, siren, and horn on one of its ambulances to locate a vehicle that had run off the southbound lanes of the Interstate down a deep embankment. Emergency help could not see the vehicle that reportedly had the front end in water that was rising. The two occupants said they could not get the doors of the car open. They were eventually able to hear the siren and then see the ambulance, helping to lead them to the car. The two out of state residents escaped injury.
The sheriff's department also responded to several other reports of vehicles sliding off the road on other roads during the height of the snowfall Friday night.
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