Photos and Video of January Winter Storm
Published on January 8 2014 7:36 pm
Written by Wayne Moran
The winter storm that has many in the area still digging out was one of the biggest in recent memory, not so much for the amount of snow it left behind, but for the extraordinary circumstances that it created in Effingham county.
We've created several galleries and links to the events that we (and our listeners) documented during the storm that brought 12+ inches of snow to the area, white-out conditions and power outages... Followed by the coldest air in 20 years.
A gallery of listener-submitted photos is located here.
By Monday night, the Effingham area was literally overflowing with semi-trucks, as drivers sought refuge from the aftermath of the storm and the bitter cold. Most roads across the area were impassable, and many sections of the Interstates had been shut down. As truck stops filled up, police began using whatever lots they could find to house the hundreds of trucks that were pouring off the Interstates. This process was slowed by the snow and ice coverage on the ramps. At one point, crews had to put down a gravel base over the snow and ice "every few trucks" as Johnthon Paholke of the Shumway Fire Department told us, to try to keep trucks moving on the off-ramp. Numerous accidents and jackknifed trucks had police urging people to avoid the area, a warning that persisted for over 24 hours.
Even the parking lot at Sacred Heart School was used as an overflow, as seen in the photo below.
We shot this video Monday night on Evergreen Drive near the TA and Flyin' J truck stops, as hundreds of truckers tried to find shelter. (Direct link)
The situation was worsened Tuesday morning, as area drivers attempted to get out, only to find many areas of the town packed with trucks. Keller Drive was especially bad, as trucks lined the west side of the road, and were continuing to exit the interstates. This photo from Keller Drive shows the backup of traffic that went beyond the river bridge on 32/33.
Fayette avenue didn't have it any better, as trucked lined Outer West Belt from The Effingham Performance Center to Route 40.
The Effingham Performance Center and the Ron Diehl Center were opened as warming centers for area residents and stranded travelers, seeing over 400 on Monday night, and more than 280 on Tuesday night. Many area fire stations and churches also opened their doors, as trucks and weary travelers continued to pour into town trying to escape the road conditions that somehow seemed to be worsening as time went on. We shot this video Tuesday night near the Effingham Performance Center. (Direct link)
On Wednesday, as temperatures finally climbed well above the freezing mark, many area highways and main arteries were clearing. However, many residents discovered most rural roads and side streets to be even slicker as the melting began. Numerous traffic backups were again reported throughout the area, a trend that continued all day.
We wanted to get an aerial view of the situation in the area, and reached out to Gary Bartels with MBI Construction. Gary has been flying for more than 14 years, and has a helicopter at MBI. He took us on a tour of the area, starting south of Effingham near the Watson exit.
A gallery of images from our aerial tour is located here.
We also shot raw video from the helicopter tour (If you'd like to watch it in HD, click the gear icon at the bottom of the player and choose a quality setting). (Direct link)