Ice, Sleet, Snow, Thunderstorms, and Snow Rollers on Feb. 17


A winter storm system produced a wide variety of weather across central and southeast Illinois on Monday, February 17.  Areas along and north of I-74 primarily saw snow, with 3 to 5 inches falling.  Further south, there was an extensive mixture of freezing rain and sleet, which changed to snow during the afternoon, and southeast Illinois saw freezing rain change to just rain as temperatures rose above freezing.  Sufficient instability existed in the atmosphere to produce thunderstorms at times from mid morning through early afternoon.



Snowfall Accumulations:

Snowfall totals from Monday, February 17


------  -------------------  -----------  -------
  5.60   1 N ABINGDON         KNOX         0600 PM
  5.00   HENRY                MARSHALL     0440 PM
  5.00   PEORIA               PEORIA       0400 PM
  4.50   HOPEWELL             MARSHALL     0405 PM
  4.50   FARMINGTON           FULTON       0340 PM
  4.50   EUREKA               WOODFORD     0323 PM
  4.30   ALTONA               KNOX         0155 PM
  3.70   KNOXVILLE            KNOX         0440 PM
  3.50   CANTON               FULTON       0340 PM
  3.40   MORTON               TAZEWELL     0200 PM
  3.00   3 NE BLOOMINGTON     MCLEAN       0728 PM
  3.00   ASTORIA              FULTON       0340 PM
  2.50   GALESBURG            KNOX         0255 PM
  2.50   NORMAL               MCLEAN       0254 PM
  2.50   1 S MORTON           TAZEWELL     1243 PM
  2.50   5 NW PEORIA          PEORIA       1200 PM
  1.80   OGDEN                CHAMPAIGN    0229 PM
  1.50   3 W BISMARCK         VERMILION    0618 PM
  1.50   1 S MANITO           MASON        0336 PM
  1.30   DANVILLE             VERMILION    0409 PM
  1.30   1 ENE LINCOLN        LOGAN        0400 PM
  1.30   MOUNT PULASKI        LOGAN        0400 PM
  1.10   1 ESE SHERMAN        SANGAMON     0410 PM


Ice Accumulations:

Ice accumulations from February 17

------  -------------------  -----------  -------  -------------
  0.30   DANVILLE             VERMILION    0409 PM  FREEZING RAIN
  0.30   OGDEN                CHAMPAIGN    0229 PM  SLEET
  0.30   JEROME               SANGAMON     0210 PM  FREEZING RAIN
  0.25   MOUNT PULASKI        LOGAN        0400 PM  FREEZING RAIN
  0.25   1 ENE LINCOLN        LOGAN        0100 PM  FREEZING RAIN
  0.25   1 SW WOODSON         MORGAN       0100 PM  FREEZING RAIN
  0.20   LOVINGTON            MOULTRIE     0548 PM  FREEZING RAIN
  0.20   SULLIVAN             MOULTRIE     0148 PM  FREEZING RAIN
  0.20   EFFINGHAM            EFFINGHAM    0135 PM  FREEZING RAIN
  0.20   PANA                 CHRISTIAN    0127 PM  FREEZING RAIN
  0.20   PETERSBURG           MENARD       0123 PM  FREEZING RAIN
  0.20   2 N HOMER            CHAMPAIGN    0100 PM  FREEZING RAIN
  0.20   3 S GREENVIEW        MENARD       0100 PM  FREEZING RAIN
  0.20   1 SW JEROME          SANGAMON     0955 AM  FREEZING RAIN
  0.15   1 ESE SHERMAN        SANGAMON     0410 PM  FREEZING RAIN
  0.15   SHERMAN              SANGAMON     1111 AM  FREEZING RAIN
  0.13   CANTON               FULTON       0100 PM  FREEZING RAIN
  0.10   1 S MANITO           MASON        0336 PM  FREEZING RAIN
  0.10   1 S MORTON           TAZEWELL     1245 PM  FREEZING RAIN
  0.10   CHARLESTON           COLES        1220 PM  FREEZING RAIN

Snow Rollers: 

Snow rollers formed in many areas during the late afternoon and evening hours as well.  This is a rare event because it takes a special set of circumstances for them to form.  Usually, the following conditions are necessary:

  • The ground surface must be icy, or have crusty snow.
  • About an inch or so of wet snow must accumulate.
  • Gusty and strong winds are needed to scoop out chunks of snow and allow them to roll.

Once the initial "seed" of the roller is started, it begins to roll.  It collects additional snow from the ground as it rolls along, leaving trails behind it.  The appearance is similar to building snowmen, except the snowball is more log-shaped rather than spherical, and many times they are hollow.  They can be as small as a golf ball, or as large as a 30 gallon drum, but typically they are about 10 to 12 inches in diameter.

The photographs below were taken at our office around 5 pm and 8 pm on Monday.  That morning, we received one-quarter inch of freezing rain fell on top of an 8 inch snowpack. Then 1.3 inches of snow fell during the early to mid-afternoon, accumulating on top of the smooth ice surface.  The temperature rose to 33 degrees, allowing the snow to become "sticky."  Then, northwest winds increased to 15 to 25 mph after 4 PM, and the snow started to roll.  













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