Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Heaviest Snow for a Long Time

Outside Country Fair Shopping Center, Urbana Courier, January 25, 1979

The title to this post could easily refer to the weather conditions expected over the next few days. However, it refers to a 1906 Champaign Daily News article. Long-time Champaign County residents know that in winter, sooner or later, we will get snow. And sometimes, we will get a lot. Time after time, the area has suffered winter's worst.

In previous decades, large snowstorms could paralyze the area for days. The February 21, 1908 edition of the Ivesdale News tells us that all freight and passenger rail traffic was abandoned for the previous 36 hours and that "the storm was general throughout the middle states and reports from all points tell of terrible suffering caused by the storm."

Even in larger cities, such as Champaign-Urbana, arctic blasts caused life to grind to a halt. The March 19, 1906 edition of the Champaign Daily News noted that no Big Four rail traffic occurred the previous day. Trolley cars could not move until the roads were clear, and that even pedestrians experienced difficulty negotiating the treacherous conditions. The Wabash Railroad attempted to send out a passenger train at 8 o'clock that morning, but "ran into a big snow drift one mile southeast of Urbana and could neither go on nor back out. After vainly waiting for some time, the passengers became discouraged, and walked back into town."

Stay safe in this weather, and come see us when the snow melts!

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