A 30-mile section of an Illinois highway remained closed on Friday, one day after more than 100 vehicles were involved in various accidents during a violent winter storm sweeping through the state.
The Illinois Department of Transportation said early Friday that Interstate 39, which runs from Illinois to Wisconsin, is still closed in both directions between Normal and Minonk, Illinois, as a result of a spate of crashes.
“It is not likely to reopen until approximately midday today,” according to the agency.
The Illinois State Police were on the scene of a multi-vehicle incident on I-39 near El Paso, Illinois, on Thursday evening, when troopers tried to get motorists off the road and into warming centers, according to a press release.
Troopers are currently working tirelessly to remove everyone from the roadway in the safest and most expedient manner possible. We’re urging everyone to stay away from the area. According to a trooper speaking in a video released by state police on Thursday night, “Please do not travel unless there is an emergency.”
High-definition videos posted on social media showed chaos on the snow-covered roadway and a pileup of semi-trailer trucks as strong winds caused limited visibility conditions on the motorway.
The state was hammered by a winter storm that dumped more than six inches of snow in some regions, such as Lincoln, Illinois, and brought freezing temperatures to the state on Wednesday and Thursday.
More than 50 million Americans throughout the country were placed on high alert late Thursday night due to cold weather, flooding, rain, and other dangers, the National Weather Service said.
The storm is traveling north-eastward at this time, bringing with it strong winds. It is expected to deliver scattered snow showers and squalls to sections of the Northeast on Saturday, as well as snow and whiteout conditions for areas of the Midwest and East Coast in the north.