CARBONDALE — Snow continued to fall as the sun came up Saturday after the first powder of the year lay about half a foot thick in parts of Southern Illinois.
A winter storm warning was in effect for much of the region Friday as the National Weather Service projected upwards of more than half a foot of snow, particularly in the northern portion of Southern Illinois from Friday through Saturday.
Schools got out early and grocery stores boomed as people readied for the first real storm of the winter season.
According to charts from NOAA in Paducah, Randolph County east to the Indiana border and north to Mount Vernon were still under a storm warning Saturday while portions south to Cape Girardeau and east to Indiana were merely under an advisory.
Snow transitioned into rain, some of it freezing rain, on Saturday with travel conditions still forecast to be slick in places. NOAA warned travelers to be on the look out for small, additional accumulations of snow as well as the potential for light icing.
Local law enforcement praised the Illinois Department of Transportation’s efforts to keep main arteries clear into the night as snow came down.
“The interstates have improved significantly thanks to the IDOT's amazing efforts! Those guys had an uphill battle there for a good while,” a 2 a.m. Facebook post from the Illinois State Police District 13 office reads.
However, the district heeded travelers to be leery of county roads.
“County and City Roads are a mess depending on the jurisdiction. Watch your bridge decks and keep a sharp eye out for drifting snow,” the post continues.
The ISP Facebook account also reported answering “62 calls for motorist assists” and “39 calls for crashes.”
A representative from the Franklin County Sheriff’s office said they received several calls throughout the night of people leaving their cars along the roadways because the snow. The representative also said there had been no calls of snow-related accidents between 7 and 9:45 a.m.
Williamson County declined to release traffic crash information and directed The Southern the its public information officer on Monday.
The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office has not yet responded to a request for a count of weather-related calls from Friday.