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Quinn Declares Disaster Area For State After Snowstorm, Extreme Cold

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Gov. Pat Quinn declared a statewide disaster area on Monday, due to the extreme cold, and heavy snow still clogging many roadways. (Credit: CBS)

Gov. Pat Quinn declared a statewide disaster area on Monday, due to the extreme cold, and heavy snow still clogging many roadways. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Gov. Pat Quinn has declared a statewide disaster area because of the snow and extreme cold and has activated the Illinois National Guard.

At a news conference on Monday, Quinn said the snow paralyzed some the state’s biggest snow plows and salt trucks.

Following the weekend snowfall, which saw some areas get around a foot of new snow, temperatures plunged to record lows, making snow clearing even more difficult.

The temperature at O’Hare International Airport fell to 16 below zero on Monday morning, setting a record for Jan. 6.

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According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, 70 cars and 20 semi trucks were stranded overnight.

There were 130 crashes and 630 motorists rescued Sunday night. DNR snowmobiles were used to rescue some downstate and many were stranded for several hours.

The National Guard will be mostly assisting in areas along Interstate 70 and Interstate 57, where most motorists were stuck.

In Mattoon, the Southern Illinois basketball team was among 200 people stranded in the town by the storm.

Officials told drivers to avoid travel as many roads are not yet clear of snow and ice. The state is posting additional road information on its website.

The state has used 9,400 tons of salt and 1,900 tons of liquid chloride to help de-ice the roads.

The bitter cold is expected to last into Tuesday and Wednesday before temperatures moderate later in the week.

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