Environment & Weather
Governor Quinn Announces Continued State Response to Extreme Winter Weather PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Brooke Anderson   
Monday, 06 January 2014 09:57

Reminds Residents to Stay Safe and to Check on Their Neighbors

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today announced measures that will continue to be taken by Illinois state agencies in response to the ongoing extreme winter weather affecting more than 90 percent of the state. He also urged residents to stay safe and warm and to check on their neighbors during the bitter cold and snowy weather.

"This winter storm will be one for the record books, and we want to make sure everyone stays safe and warm until it passes,” Governor Quinn said. “State crews continue working around the clock to keep residents safe and to respond to any emergency situations that may occur. I urge everyone to keep close tabs on their neighbors and families, stay inside as much as possible, limit their exposure to the cold temperatures, dress in layers and keep pets indoors.”

The National Weather Service forecasts historically cold temperatures throughout Illinois following the heavy snow that has blanketed much of the state. High winds will drive wind chills to 35 to 45 degrees below zero through Tuesday. Because of the record-setting cold, Governor Quinn urges residents to take advantage of the state’s more than 100 warming centers, including Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) offices throughout the state, which are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., or the Illinois Tollway Oases, which are open 24 hours a day. To find a warming center near you, call the IDHS hotline at (800) 843-6154 or visit keepwarm.illinois.gov.

Heavy and drifting snow has made travel extremely hazardous throughout the state. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has nearly 3,700 employees and 1,755 trucks deployed statewide to address the winter weather on state routes, while the Illinois Tollway has 200 staff and 182 snow plows on duty in response to the weather. The Tollway has also doubled the number of Zero Weather Road Patrols it provides to assist customers stranded in their cars during the severe weather. The Zero Weather Road Patrols will continue into Wednesday, January 8, or until the temperature or wind chill rises above zero. Motorists are urged to only travel if absolutely necessary and to give road crews plenty of room, keep their gas tanks at least two-thirds full, and have a complete emergency kit in their vehicles. For roadside assistance anywhere in Illinois, call *999.

Road condition information is available by calling 1-800-452-IDOT (4368), Illinois Tollway information by calling 1-800-TOLL-FYI or online at www.gettingaroundillinois.com and click on the “winter road conditions” icon.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) is in close contact with local emergency management agencies and prepared to provide assistance if needed. They advise residents to stay home and off the roads if at all possible due to the extremely dangerous cold and snowy conditions. IEMA also advises every household to have a disaster preparedness kit that will help residents stay safe for at least three days. The kits should include a battery-powered NOAA weather radio; a flashlight; extra batteries; non-perishable food; water; a first-aid kit; extra medications; and special items needed for babies, disabled or elderly family members and pets. If you must travel, a vehicle preparedness kit should include a cell phone and charger, flashlight, extra batteries, first-aid kit, snack foods and water, blankets, extra warm clothing, gloves and hats, sand or kitty litter, shovel, windshield scraper, booster cables, flares or reflectors, windshield washer fluid, and a tool kit.

To reduce the chance of frostbite or hypothermia if you must venture outdoors, the Illinois Department of Public Health advises residents to stay dry and wear several layers of lightweight clothing; cover your head; wear mittens rather than fingered gloves; wear warm leg coverings and heavy socks or two pairs of lightweight socks; and cover your ears and lower face. Residents should seek immediate medical attention for any severe weather related health issues.

The Illinois Department on Aging encourages relatives and friends to make daily visits or calls to senior citizens living alone. Senior citizens should dress in layers, both indoors and outdoors, make sure they got plenty to eat and drink, have extra medications in the house and let someone else shovel the snow.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture advises residents to keep their pets indoors or ensure they have a warm shelter area with unfrozen food and water. Check frequently on any animal that remains outside.

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Tips on Protecting your Home from Ice and Bitter Cold PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Holly Anderson - State Farm   
Monday, 06 January 2014 09:32
Mother Nature has blasted the area with cold and snow and it’s only going to get colder by Monday. State Farm is already receiving claims on Frozen Pipes but there is still time to prevent others from getting hit with damage. Below are facts and tips for prevention.
The snow and cold can also bring Ice Dams to a home.  An Ice Dam forms when the temperature in your attic is above freezing causing snow on the roof to melt and then refreeze in dropping temperatures.  The pools of water behind those dams can cause leakage then into your home.  See tips on how to prevent this below.
Frozen Pipes:
  • One-eighth-inch (3 millimeters) crack in a pipe can spray more than 250 gallons of water a day -- ruining floors, carpets, furniture and irreplaceable personal belongings.
  • Pipes can freeze anywhere due to exposure from cracks or holes in siding or because of pipes being placed in outside walls with inadequate insulation.
  • When it’s especially cold where you live, let the hot and cold faucets drip overnight and open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to uninsulated pipes under sinks on exterior walls.
  • Insulate pipes in your home’s crawl space or attic.
  • Seal leaks that allow cold air inside.
  • Disconnect garden hoses and, if practical, use an indoor valve to shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets.
  • If you are going away for an extended period of time, be sure to maintain adequate heat inside your home….no lower than 55 degrees.
Ice Dams:
  • Prevent warm, moist downstairs air from infiltrating the attic by appropriately insulating your attic’s floor and using a dehumidifier to control water vapor. Seal all openings that would allow vapor to rise into the attic.
  • Research shows keeping the attic air temperature below freezing when the outside air temperature is in the low 20s can reduce the occurrence of ice dams. Provide good attic ventilation to replace warm air in the attic with cold outside air. Consult a professional for the best way to avoid ice dams and water damage in your home.
  • Do not routinely remove snow from the roof or attempt to “chip away” the ice of an ice dam. It will likely lead to shingle damage.
  • Do not install large mechanical equipment or water heaters in attics, especially in cold climates. Not only do they present an unwelcome fire hazard, but they’ll also increase the temperature in your attic.
  • Do not use salt or calcium chloride to melt snow on a roof. These chemicals are very corrosive and can shorten the life of metal gutters, downspouts, and flashings. Runoff that contains high concentrations of these chemicals can damage nearby grass and plants.

 
Governor Quinn Announces State Preparedness Measures Ahead of Winter Blast PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Brooke Anderson   
Monday, 06 January 2014 09:31

Governor Urges Residents to Stay Inside, Safe and Warm Ahead of Forecast Snow and Cold; Check on Neighbors

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today announced measures being taken by Illinois state agencies to prepare for the extreme cold and additional snowfall that is forecast for the next several days. He also urged residents to follow recommended winter safety procedures and to check on their neighbors during the bitter cold and snowy weather. Today’s announcement is part of Governor Quinn’s commitment to keeping all Illinois residents safe and warm this winter.

"As we head into this extreme winter blast, state of Illinois personnel and emergency crews are working around the clock to help people stay warm and safe, while keeping roads open for those who must travel," Governor Quinn said.

“During this bitter cold and snowy weather, Illinois residents should stay inside as much as possible and limit their exposure to the cold temperatures. Don't forget to dress in layers, check in on friends and family who may need additional assistance, and bring pets indoors. Residents can also take advantage of our warming centers if necessary," the Governor added.

Residents are urged to take advantage of the state’s more than 100 warming centers as temperatures dip to dangerous lows. These include Illinois Department of Human Services offices throughout the state, which are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., or the Illinois Tollway Oases, which are open 24 hours a day.  To find a warming center near you, call the IDHS hotline at (800) 843-6154 or visit keepwarm.illinois.gov.

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Illinois Tollway have their crews working around the clock to keep roads clear and passable. Motorists are urged to drive defensively and safely, travel only if absolutely necessary, slow down, and buckle up. In addition, a new state law prohibits motorists from talking on all but hands-free mobile phones while driving.

Other roadway safety tips to remember:

  • Don’t crowd snowplows – an operator’s field of vision is restricted.
  • Allow extra time for travel during the winter months.
  • Watch out for black ice on roads that appear clear but can be treacherous. Slow down when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges and shady areas - all are prone to black ice, which is often invisible.
  • Pull over and dial *999 for emergency roadway assistance.

Check travel and road conditions routinely before any trip. You can get road condition information by calling 1-800-452-IDOT (4368), Illinois Tollway information by calling 1-800-TOLL-FYI or online at www.gettingaroundillinois.com and click on the “winter road conditions” icon.

The Illinois Tollway expects to double the number of Zero Weather Road Patrols it provides around the clock to assist drivers stranded in their cars along the 286-mile Tollway system. The Zero Weather Road Patrols provide roadway assistance when temperatures and/or sustained wind chills are below zero.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) will continue to monitor the winter weather conditions throughout Illinois and stands ready to activate emergency state resources if necessary. IEMA also advises every household to have a disaster preparedness kit that will help residents stay safe for at least three days. The kits should include a battery-powered NOAA weather radio, a flashlight, extra batteries, non-perishable food, water, a first-aid kit, extra medications and special items needed for babies, disabled or elderly family members and pets.

If you must travel, IEMA and IDOT recommend you equip your vehicle with an emergency supply kit to keep you safe in case you are stranded along the road.  A vehicle preparedness kit should include a cell phone and charger, flashlight, extra batteries, first-aid kit, snack foods and water, blankets, extra warm clothing, gloves and hats, sand or kitty litter, shovel, windshield scraper, booster cables, flares or reflectors, windshield washer fluid, and a tool kit. Always keep your gas tank at least two-thirds full to help prevent the vehicle’s fuel line from freezing.

Before you depart, check weather and road conditions along your route and provide your planned route to a family member or friend. If conditions are dangerous, postpone travel until road conditions improve. IEMA and the National Weather Service have developed a Winter Weather Preparedness Guide that contains many more tips about winter weather safety.  The guide is available at the Ready Illinois website at ready.illinois.gov.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) advises residents to be vigilant regarding two health conditions caused by cold winter weather that can lead to serious injury or death – hypothermia and frostbite. Infants and the elderly are particularly at risk for these conditions.

Symptoms for hypothermia, a drop in body temperature to 95 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, include forgetfulness; drowsiness; slurred speech; change in appearance, such as a puffy face; weak pulse, slow heartbeat; very slow, shallow breathing; and in extreme cases, coma or a death-like appearance. If you notice these symptoms, wrap the person in a warm blanket and seek immediate medical attention. Do not give a hypothermia victim a hot shower or bath.

Frostbite typically affects exposed areas of the face, ears, wrists, hands and feet.  Frostbitten skin is whitish and stiff, and the area will feel numb rather than painful.  If you notice these signs, warm the affected part of the body gradually with blankets, other warm wrappings or warm parts of your body like your armpits, and seek medical attention immediately. Do not rub frostbitten areas. To reduce the chance of frostbite, stay dry and wear several layers of lightweight clothing; cover your head; wear mittens rather than fingered gloves; wear warm leg coverings and heavy socks or two pairs of lightweight socks; and cover your ears and lower face.

The Illinois Department on Aging is encouraging relatives and friends to make daily visits or calls to senior citizens living alone. Older people are more susceptible to the cold, so seniors should set their thermostats above 65 degrees. Those particularly vulnerable are older people who take certain medications, drink alcohol, lack proper nutrition, or who have conditions such as arthritis, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson's disease.

Tips for senior citizens to best handle cold temperatures:

·         Dress in layers, both indoors and outdoors.

·         Keep active. Make a list of exercises and activities to do indoors when you can’t get out.

·         Eat well and drink 10 glasses of water daily; stock up on non-perishable food supplies, just in case.

·         Keep extra medications in the house. If this is not possible, make arrangements to have someone pick up and deliver your medications.

·         Do not shovel snow or walk in deep snow. Plan now for someone else to shovel the snow. The strain from the cold and hard labor could cause a heart attack; sweating can lead to a chill and even hypothermia.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture advises residents to bring their pets indoors or ensure they have a warm shelter area with unfrozen food and water. Check frequently on any animal that remains outside.

Extreme cold temperatures are dangerous and can be deadly. Since 1995, more than 130 fatalities related to cold temperatures have occurred in Illinois, making it the second-leading cause of weather-related deaths in Illinois in the past two decades.

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Governor Quinn Encourages Families and Businesses to Take Advantage of Federal Disaster Aid PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Brooke Anderson   
Thursday, 02 January 2014 09:52

Joins Residents of Washington as Year Comes to a Close; Signs Legislation to Aid Communities Recovering From Natural Disasters

WASHINGTON – As 2013 draws to a close, Governor Pat Quinn today visited the tornado-ravaged community of Washington to encourage residents to take advantage of the federal aid available for those impacted by the deadly storms on November 17. The Governor also signed legislation that is part of his commitment to ensuring the state does everything necessary to help families and communities across Illinois as they rebuild and recover from the historic natural disasters that have struck Illinois this year.

“As Illinois heads into a new year, many of our neighbors in Central and Southern Illinois are continuing to rebuild their lives after deadly tornadoes ravaged their communities,” Governor Quinn said. “Federal assistance is an important part of our recovery efforts and I urge everyone who suffered damage or loss to make sure they register for federal aid.”

Governor Quinn successfully secured federal aid for 15 counties just nine days after a record 25 tornadoes caused widespread destruction across the state. The federal disaster declaration includes Champaign, Douglas, Fayette, Grundy, Jasper, LaSalle, Massac, Pope, Tazewell, Vermilion, Wabash, Washington, Wayne, Will and Woodford counties.

To date, more than 2,000 people in those counties have applied for assistance, with more than $1.6 million in federal grants and more than $5.6 million in low-interest loans already approved.

Anyone affected by the Nov. 17 tornadoes and severe storms is encouraged to register for federal assistance. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which administers the assistance program, has a toll-free telephone number 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) (for hearing and speech impaired) to apply for assistance. Registration also can be done online at disasterassistance.gov or by smartphone or tablet at m.fema.gov. The deadline to register for federal disaster aid is Jan. 27, 2014.

In addition to FEMA grants, disaster survivors may be eligible for low-interest loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), which were also made available under the federal disaster declaration.

The Governor today also signed Senate Bill 1955, which transfers $5.9 million to meet the state’s cost-sharing obligations with FEMA for federal funds provided in response to the historic flooding that impacted counties across the state this spring. These funds represent the state’s contribution to federal aid which has provided access to Individual Assistance grants that help affected people replace personal property lost or damaged during the disaster. The bill was sponsored by State Senator Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge) and House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago) and passed both chambers of the General Assembly unanimously. It takes effect immediately.

“We need to be there for people when emergencies and disasters occur. This law means resources are available to help people get back on their feet in their time of need,” Senator Kotowski said.

The Governor also recently signed House Bill 2778, which will allow more advanced life-saving equipment to be carried and used in emergency vehicles in rural areas where such services may be otherwise difficult to obtain. The new law allows the license of an ambulance operated in a rural area to be upgraded to reflect that of the staff member with the highest Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) rating. Sponsored by State Representative Don Moffitt (R-Galesburg) and State Senator Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet), the law passed both houses of the General Assembly unanimously and took effect immediately.

 

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Governor Quinn Announces U of I’s Lincoln Hall Earns Nation’s Highest Green Building Designation PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Grant Klinzman   
Monday, 30 December 2013 08:52

LEED Platinum Rating is Only the Second for a Historic Building in Illinois

URBANA – Governor Pat Quinn today announced that the state-funded rehabilitation project at the University of Illinois’ Lincoln Hall has allowed the building to achieve LEED Platinum status, the nation’s highest “green building” designation. This designation is particularly difficult to achieve with projects on historic buildings like Lincoln Hall, and it is only the second historic building in the state of Illinois to be certified LEED Platinum. Today’s announcement is part of Governor Quinn’s commitment to making all state buildings as energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly as possible.

“Lincoln Hall is the perfect example of what we can do when we work together and make smart, strategic investments,” Governor Quinn said. “LEED Platinum is a fitting designation for this state-of-the-art green facility that will service students of the University of Illinois for many generations to come.”

The $60.4 million renovation of Lincoln Hall, completed in 2012, was designed to achieve a coveted Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certification. The LEED certification can be silver, gold or platinum, which is the highest level obtainable. The certification process begins at the early stages of a project when the project team decides what level of LEED certification they hope to achieve. The final certification comes after the building is completed and all documentation has been thoroughly reviewed by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The Illinois Jobs Now! funded project, designed by CANNON Design of Chicago, included the extensive renovation and reconfiguration of Lincoln Hall. The building’s climate control, electrical, lighting, plumbing and fire alarm systems were upgraded, and the structure was reconfigured to make it more usable while preserving its historic character. The project also replaced the floor, ceiling, and wall finishes; abated asbestos-containing materials; and purchased moveable equipment. The construction was managed by the Illinois Capital Development Board.

“The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is now home to seven LEED buildings, and projects such as the Lincoln Hall renovation exemplify our green building leadership,” Chancellor Phyllis Wise said. “We are delighted to work with the state of Illinois to become a nationwide model of sustainability.”

The reuse and rehabilitation of an existing building like Lincoln Hall is “greener” than constructing a new replacement building. Some of the key “green” features of the project include:

·         Demolition materials and construction packaging were recycled.

·         Workers salvaged, refinished and reused existing wood trim and wood doors.

·         Removed slate roofing tiles were ground up for mulch and placed in landscape beds.

·         Finishing materials had recycled content.

·         Many construction materials were produced regionally to reduce transportation costs.

·         The building features dedicated outdoor air supply units with heat recovery for centralized and efficient fresh air intake and exhaust.

·         Low water volume plumbing fixtures were used.

·         Displacement air diffusers were installed in classrooms and the Lincoln Theater.

·         Efficient lighting with daylight harvesting and occupancy sensor controls were installed.

·         Variable frequency drives for pumps and motors were used to save on energy and wear and tear.

Other Illinois Jobs Now! funded construction projects are underway at the University of Illinois for which LEED certification will be sought. These include the $80 million Electrical and Computer Engineering Building and the $23.2 million Integrated Biotechnology Research Laboratory.

The only other historic building in Illinois to achieve LEED Platinum certification is the old Sears Powerhouse, now the Charles H. Shaw Technology and Learning Center in Chicago, after a historic rehabilitation project.

LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system, providing third-party verification that a building was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance in energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts. Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED provides building owners and operators a concise framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.

Studies have shown that a two percent investment in “green” materials and techniques during design and construction results in a 20 percent reduction in a structure’s energy use and operating costs during the lifetime of a building.

Lincoln Hall was built between 1909 and 1911. The Illinois General Assembly appropriated $250,000 for the construction of the building to serve as a memorial to Abraham Lincoln in 1909, the centennial of his birth. The west end of the building and the theater were added in 1929 and 1930. The original architect was W.C. Zimmerman and the building, designed in the Renaissance Revival style, has many notable features, including a bronze bust of the 16th President just inside the main doorway off the Quad, and terra cotta plaques along three exterior sides. The plaques facing the Quad depict scenes from Lincoln’s life, while the plaques on the sides contain quotations from the President.

Lincoln Hall houses the general curriculum classrooms and lecture halls; Political Science, Sociology, Speech and Communication Departments; the Dean's Office of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Student Academic Affairs Office; and Admissions and Records.

The Lincoln Hall project is part of Governor Quinn’s $31 billion Illinois Jobs Now! program, which will support more than 439,000 jobs over six years. Illinois Jobs Now! is the largest capital construction program in Illinois history, and is one of the largest capital construction programs in the nation.

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