Weather Information (2015-2016)
Winter has arrived, and you should be prepared for unexpected colder temperatures, snow, and other treacherous weather. Driving could become hazardous if road conditions deteriorate, so be sure to adequately prepare your vehicle before setting out. In fact, one million motorists typically become "winter casualties" every year1. Motorists should always check on road conditions before traveling during the winter months.
Being prepared for winter driving circumstances could save you time and money, and maybe even your life. The links below provide information that help you deal with winter conditions.
Current Weather Conditions:
Illinois Weather - University of Illinois, Department of Atmospheric Sciences. Click here first, because this site contains useful information such as current Champaign conditions (including heat index), current weather maps, new radar images with national regional and local perspectives, and more. Also, in conjunction with WILL-AM580, the campus-owned radio station, the page contains current Champaign-Urbana forecasts made by the station.
The Interactive Weather Information Network - National Weather Service. This site contains notices of active weather warnings for each state in the U.S. You can click on a state to see more detail. Your screen will update itself every 60 seconds with new information, and the site contains hourly weather reports, short term forecasts and more.
WunderMap - The Weather Underground The Weather Underground's WunderMap is an interactive weather map that allows users to choose from different weather layers plotted on top of a dynamic map interface. Mapped layers include Satellite, Severe Weather, U.S. Fronts, U.S. Forecast, Extremes, Rivers, and much more. Data are available for the entire U.S. and can even be moved out to a Continent level.
The Weather Channel - The Weather Channel The Weather Channel contains weather information for the entire US. They also contain information on El Niño La Niña
Local Weather - Intellicast. This site gives weather forecasts by state and by city. The format is both graphical and text-based, so users with slower connections might want to drop in here. You can focus on Champaign, if you wish.
Current Road Conditions:
State-wide: Winter Road Conditions - Illinois Department of Transportation. IDOT provides winter road information at this site that is updated every hour or so. Primarily, they report the winter road condition of highways in Illinois. The highways are ranked as "Clear of snow and ice," "Patchy," or "Snow or Ice Covered." If you are having trouble deciding whether to travel in Illinois or not, this site may help. You may also access the Roadway Weather Info System, which gives you detailed weather information from the weather stations located near roadways and Interstates. Reports are available for road construction with a text version too, and there is another text version for road closures as well. The Obstructions and Restrictions map shows permanent and temporary restricted lanes on Illinois highways. IDOT also has a Winter Travel Tips page.
Chicago area: Highway Congestion & Construction
- Gary-Chicago-Milwaukee Priority Corridor partners. At this site,
reports on Chicago-area traffic congestion are displayed. This is not a direct
report on winter conditions, but if roads are snow-packed congestion could
be bad. This site is useful, because its information is updated every
few minutes or so.
Hint: Click on the map edges to see more than just the Central Chicagoland area.
Before you Travel
Other Winter-Preparedness Links and Information Sources:
Winter Storms in Illinois - Illinois State Climatologist's Office. How to prepare for winter storms, winter storm facts and a glossary of winter storm terms are among the resources available here. There is also information on Preparing for Winter, Climate Data, and much more.
Winter Storm Resource Center - University of Illinois Extension. A large collection of informative links on everything from Understanding Winter Storms to Getting Around in the Snow. You can even learn how to keep control of your car in the snow and avoid skids!
Storm Damage Data - Illinois State Climatologist's Office. At this location, the Illinois State Climatologist's Office provides information about damage caused by severe weather. This information may be helpful if you experience hail damage to your property.
Winter Weather Preparedness Guide - Illinois Emergency Management Agency. Information on how to prepare for winter weather, including Illinois Winter Weather Facts to creating a Winter Storm Survival Kit for Travelers. Other tips include preparing for isolation in your home for several days, and how to prepare your vehicle for winter.
Winter Weather - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tips for preparing yourself, home, and car for winter weather. The Extreme Cold Prevention Guide helps you reduce the risk of weather-related health problems.
El Niño the Midwest - Illinois State Climatologist's Office. Background information on El Niño the topic here. Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel gives you the low-down on "the boy child" and explains some of the resultant weather patterns. Follow the link to learn more.
The ISWS does not specifically endorse any of the sites provided, nor is it responsible for their content.