DU QUOIN - It could have been much worse.
Local meteorologists told Southern Illinoisans to brace for possibly a bad winter storm Wednesday night that would likely run through Thursday morning that could bring up to eight inches of snow. As it turns out, the region amassed about half that predicted total or much less.
Ashley Ravenscraft, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Paducah, said Williamson County may have been hit the hardest in Southern Illinois with anywhere from 3 to 4.5 inches of snow. There was a little ice mixed in with the snow accmulation.
"From what we can tell, it looks like the heaviest snow was right along Interstate 57 from Marion to just south of Mount Vernon," Ravenscraft said. "The bigger ice issues were further off to the south and east."
Ravenscraft said the heaviest snow fell in the overnight hours and was pretty much wrapping up by Thursday mid-morning.
In Perry County, she said, the snow accumulation was closer to 2 inches.
Asked why the inch count was lower than predicted, Ravenscraft said dryer air than anticipated has something to do with that.
"Outside of Southern Illinois, the heaviest snowfall appears to be in the St. Louis area, where we have received a couple of reports of about six inches. This is the most snow we have seen for mid-November since 2014. Although not unheard of, it is pretty rare this early into the cold weather season."
Perry County Highway Department engineer Brian Otten said the highway departmen's 10 employees were split up into two work crews - a night shift and day shift.
"The night shift started around 7 p.m. Wednesday and worked until 7 a.m. Thursday and the day shift started at 7 a.m. Thursday and worked through 3 p.m. There were no major issues with our equipment or anything else for that matter," Otten said. "There was enough heat on the ground that it melted the snow really well. And we weren't hearing about any problems with motorists. Everything went about as well as we could hope."
Otten explained that the first priority is to clear the high-traffic roads in the county and then follow up with the secondary and tertiary roads such as subdivisions and bus routes.
"This whole process has become very routine for us," Otten said.