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Peoria roads weather another big snowstorm as city approaches a record for February accumulation

City of Peoria

With 10 days remaining, Peoria could be on the way to challenging its record for February snowfall.

According to the National Weather Service in Lincoln, the city totaled 6.6 inches of accumulation from Thursday’s storm, forcing snow removal crews into extended action for the second time in a little more than two weeks.

It’s unlike anything Public Works deputy director Sie Maroon can recall.

“Not like this, back-to-back,” said Maroon. “I mean, we've had where it’s been 10-12 inches or 12-14 inches, but then it tapered down and then we might get another four or five. But this is kind of unusual.”

Indeed, NWS meteorologist Alex Erwin said Thursday’s amount set a record in Peoria for Feb. 17 and brought the monthly total to 17.9 inches.

“It's certainly been a strange February here,” said Erwin, noting that this year now already ranks fifth for the most February snowfall in Peoria. “It's unusual, especially with the fact that it's come in the form of basically just two systems bringing us all this snow instead of several smaller storms.”

Maroon said snow removal crews had made Peoria’s main streets passable by early Friday and were able to start on residential neighborhoods before the morning rush hour.

“They’ve still got some snowpack on some of them, some of them are showing pavement, and some of them are running a little bit of water,” said Maroon. “So there's a little bit of a variety of conditions on the roads out there. With the sun, though, and the warmer temperatures, we hope to see a lot of that go away.”

The city of Peoria announced it will end the parking ban at 6 a.m. Saturday, 12 hours earlier than originally expected. Residents can move vehicles back to city streets after the parking ban expires.

But Maroon cautioned that road conditions could get challenging again overnight as the thermometer drops.

“The refreeze is what we were going to have to be paying attention to tonight,” he said. “It's going to get down to the single digits again, and then we're going to start to deal with that. But we will have crews out tonight as well, so we'll be able to stay on top of it.”

Maroon said icy roads create bigger challenges for their drivers as snow removal crews try to keep streets open to traffic. He cautions civilian drivers to remain patient as they approach salt and plow trucks on the roads.

“If somebody is wanting to hurry up and go around the salt truck or the plow truck, that in itself makes things even more difficult,” he said. “We've run into a lot of that, instead of seeing people being patient and giving us a chance to do what we need to do.”

Erwin said Peoria’s record for February accumulation is 26.5 inches, set in 1900. The other three years with more snowfall in the second month of the year were 2010, 2011, and 2014. Erwin said there’s a realistic chance Peoria could add to the accumulation total next week.

“We could maybe see some additional snow fall Tuesday,” he said. “There’s still some uncertainty with that system; at least for right now, it looks like that's going to be more of a rainmaker for the Peoria area. Into the later parts of next week, it looks like there's a few more precipitation chances but those look on the lighter side right now.”

Contact Joe at jdeacon@ilstu.edu.