Winter Storm Causes 100-Car Pileup in Illinois

Winter Storm Causes 100-Car Pileup in Illinois
Illinois State Police urged motorists to stay off roads Thursday after as much as 4 inches of wind-blown snow led to whiteout conditions and multiple pileups. (Photo: Charles Rex Arbogast, AP)

Icy and snowy weather across the Great Plains and Midwest caused a huge car pileup on Interstate 39 in Illinois yesterday. There were more than 100 cars and semi trucks strewn across several hundred yards of the highway.

“I-39 from Normal to Minonk will be closed for approx. 12 hours due to multiple crashes involving over 100 vehicles. Together, with our local partners, we are diligently working to ensure motorists are safely escorted from the area to warming centres,” the Illinois State Police tweeted last night.

According to a tweet from the Illinois Department of Transportation, a section of the I-39 has remained closed off “in both directions north of Normal.” Drivers were advised to calculate extra travel time for today’s commute.

Other pile ups and accidents caused by the winter storm have been reported in other parts of the state. According to Poweroutages.us, the storm has rolled into the Northeast and has shut down power for more than 50,000 people in Pennsylvania as of Friday morning. Instead of heavy snowfall like out in the Midwest, the waning storm brought heavy rains and gusty winds to Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York last night.

Early this month, Winter Storm Landon™ made travel (and life in general) miserable for people across several states. More than 200,000 people experienced power outages and thousands of flights across the country were cancelled or delayed. Parts of Interstate 70 in Missouri had to shut down from the accumulation of snow, and dangerous conditions caused multiple crashes along Interstate 55 in Illinois.

The recent storms are just two examples of how climate change-fuelled extreme weather can cause cascading and dangerous disruptions. Instead of steady snowfall throughout the winter season, we’re now more likely to see record-breaking snowfall events that our transit systems and infrastructure are not prepared for.

This week’s storm has cancelled huge numbers of flights and put millions of Americans under weather advisory. The storm is losing some power as it moves over into the Northeast, but that doesn’t mean it’s over: Areas across the tristate area are going to see winds of more than 30 miles per hour this weekend.