Readying for Winter Storm Jupiter


Published on January 12 2017 9:57 am
Last Updated on January 12 2017 4:21 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Icy conditions are possible Friday through Sunday in the area and preparations are well underway.

What is being called Winter Storm Jupiter is expected to feature a mixture of sleet and freezing rain as well as one to 1-1/2 inches of rainfall. The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for Friday afternoon through Sunday morning. A series of weather systems will move across the area this weekend. Rain is expected, but a wintery mix of snow, sleet, & freezing rain appears likely for Friday, through the weekend and into the beginning of next week. Ice and sleet accumulations will be likely over most of the area, with small amounts of snow in the north.

The latest projections from the Weather Service (and these could change as the storm track is better identified) call for freezing rain to start Friday afternoon, with the majority of the accumulation Friday night into Saturday morning with one-tenth to two-tenths of an inch by 9am Saturday. No wind to speak of, though, so that will help lessen problems with power lines and downed tree limbs. Rain is expected through the bulk of the day Saturday, then light icing (less than a tenth of an inch) is expected Saturday night and early Sunday morning, then back to rainfall as of mid-morning Sunday.

Southwestern Electric Cooperative crews are prepared for a labor-intensive weekend. With the National Weather Service forecasting ice and freezing rain across the bistate area, the co-op placed all line crews and operations personnel on alert earlier this week.

“The ice is likely to break branches, bring down trees, and snap powerlines and utility poles,” said Joe Richardson, communications coordinator for the cooperative. “We want to caution members to be alert for sagging or fallen lines, and treat every powerline as if it’s energized,” he said.

Members who see downed or sagging power lines should stay clear of the area and contact Southwestern Electric Cooperative at (800) 637-8667. In addition, people clearing away debris after the storm should look for sagging or fallen wires before they begin working.

For storm safety tips and outage updates, visit Southwestern Electric online at

With temperatures expected to dip below freezing, Southwestern is urging members to develop an outage safety plan. “Ice brings the potential for broken poles, miles of downed line, and prolonged outages,” said Joe Richardson, communications coordinator for the cooperative. “If you have a standby generator, make sure it’s working properly before the severe weather hits. If you don’t own a generator, arrange to stay with a friend or family member until your power is restored.”

Illinois State Police (ISP) District 12 is reminding motorists to prepare now for the coming winter storm.

Prior to Winter Storm Jupiter's arrival, ensure your vehicle's fuel tank is full, check tire pressure, pack a vehicle emergency kit and get supplies needed for home now, to avoid heading out on roads that have become treacherous with ice.

"Before heading out on the roads this weekend, check the current weather and road conditions. Then, consider if travel is necessary with those conditions in mind," said District 12 Commander, Captain Cory Ristvedt. "District 12 is making preparation now to handle the coming winter storm,we encourage Illinois residents to also prepare so we may traverse this winter storm safely together," added Captain Ristvedt.

Stranded motorists are encouraged to remain inside their vehicles, with safety belts fastened, while waiting for first responders to arrive, rather than standing outside of the vehicle. Motorists involved in accidents that do not require emergency assistance may file a crash report within 10 days at the nearest police station.

Illinois State Police also want to remind motorists to move over for stranded motorists, tow operators, emergency response vehicles and snow removal equipment. Scott's Law (Move Over Law) requires drivers to reduce speed, change lanes if possible, and proceed with due caution when approaching emergency vehicles. Further, a new law that took effect on January 1, 2017 will require motorists to slow down and move over for any disabled motorist exhibiting hazard lights.

Other safety tips include:

·       Make sure someone is aware of your travel route.
·       Dress warmly: choose layers of clothing in anticipation of unexpected winter weather emergencies.
·       Keep your gas tank at least two-thirds full to prevent the vehicle's fuel line from freezing. Plenty of fuel is also important if your vehicle becomes stranded.
·       Don't crowd the plow; remember, a snowplow operator's field of vision is restricted. You may see them, but they may not see you.
·       Watch out for black ice; roads that appear clear may be treacherous. Take it slow when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges, and shady areas; all are prone to black ice.
·       Have an emergency car care kit that contains jumper cables, a flashlight, a small ice scraper, blankets, gloves, food items, water, and a first aid kit.
·       Carry a cell phone AND charger.
·       Always wear a safety belt.

Motorists are urged to check travel conditions before any trip. You may get interstate condition information by calling 1-800-452-IDOT (4368) or
on the Internet at

For additional winter travel information:
Like them on Facebook at Illinois State Police District 12 Effingham
Follow them on Twitter @ISPDistrict12
Instagram at ISP District 12

For those in Effingham County with questions about emergency services, contact City EMA Coordinator Kim Tegeler at 217-342-5368 or County EMA Coordinator Pam Jacobs at 217-540-1669.