How bad is it outside? No mail delivery today

January 31, 2019

How brutally cold is it?

The United States Postal Service suspended delivery today here and across much of the Midwest, Great Plains and Great Lakes regions.

“Weather forecasters are warning of dangerously cold conditions in parts of the nation. Some places could see windchill readings as low as 60 below zero. Due to this arctic outbreak and concerns for the safety of USPS employees, the Postal Service is suspending delivery Jan. 30,” the USPS said via its website.

Forget the organization’s motto: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

The Daily Journal will not provide home delivery of today’s edition because of the extreme cold and concerns for the well-being of its carriers. The Wednesday edition will be delivered to homes when the situation improves, and free access to our website, daily-journal.com, is available during this cold snap.

Kankakee Fire personnel responded to a report of a fire in the basement of a home in the 400 block of South Main Avenue at 6:49 a.m. Damage was minimal.

According to Chief Damon Schuldt, the resident was “using some sort of heat to thaw the pipe.”

You should not do the same, nor should you use a stove to heat a house.

St. Anne Fire Chief Tim Douglas recommended calling a plumber if your pipes freeze. You can try using a hair dryer. Douglas also recommended wrapping exposed indoor pipes with heat tape.

The American Red Cross website recommends if you do it yourself, to keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.

Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials) or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.

Apply heat until full water pressure is restored.

If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible or if you cannot thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.

On the roads

Kankakee County Emergency Operations Chief Chad Gessner said overnight patrol had no issues with motorists.

“They saw very few motorists out, so that helped,” Gessner said.

Watseka Police Chief Jeremy Douglas said it was a quiet night for them.

The weather will start to improve beginning Thursday as the temperatures begin to climb. There is a chance of 1 to 3 inches of snow accumulation Thursday night into Friday morning.

Illinois State Police District 21 said via Facebook “troopers have increased their patrol sweeps looking for stranded motorists. If you find yourself having car problems, stay with your car and call 911. A trooper will come and assist you. Be safe this morning, stay warm and drive slow. Snow is blowing strong today, and roads are icy. If you can stay inside, please do so.”

Mechanical and electrical issues caused the Kankakee County Highway Department to use its plows only for emergencies until Thursday morning at the earliest, according to a social media report post for the Kankakee County Sheriff’s Office.

“Per the Kankakee County Highway Department: Please be advised ... there will be NO Kankakee County Highway Department Snowplows on the roadways until Thursday morning at the earliest due to mechanical failures in the trucks that can result from the extremely cold temperatures. The plows are only being dispatched for emergency situations. Please refrain from driving, if at all possible.”

Flooding update

Gessner said things are improving right now on the Kankakee River in regard to the ice jams that formed this past weekend.

The National Weather Service flood warning continues for the river from the Illinois/Indiana state line to Aroma Park.

This weekend’s forecast of temperatures in the 40s could change things.

“The quick weather change could be a big factor but we’ll have to see what this freeze does first to really know,” he said.

Update hourly