The past weekend here in Central Illinois was perhaps one of the worst since I came here. On Friday, when the temperatures had already been below freezing for days, a pocket of warm air aloft swept by, melting the snow that was forecast to come in from a system from the Pacific coast. and leading to what is called freezing rain i.e., rain that instantly freezes upon contact with a surface. And so on Friday night, roads were closed and the police were in full action as chaos reigned, similar to previous years.
Except that in recent years, such icy episodes have hardly lasted a few hours. In this case, it has been going on for three days now, with Sunday even bringing on a blast of arctic air that led to the coldest air temperatures this year (including the last winter season), combined with strong northwesterly winds that saw wind chills dip dangerously low. For the first time in my 3.5 years here, I had to take a day off and avoid going out. This morning, that trend continued with icy sidewalks forcing me to walk on the (frozen) grass in order to get to work. Many schools in the area are closed as well, and the University of Illinois has fortunately finished the Fall semester.
A big warm up (by Illinois standards, anyway) is expected in the next few days, bringing this horrendous episode to an end, for now. Not a day too soon.