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DECATUR — While official totals aren’t yet available, Decatur has likely broken the -11 degree record temperature for Jan. 1, according to the National Weather Service at Lincoln.

The record was set in 1974; the official weather record for Decatur is taken at the Decatur Sanitary District facilities on the city’s west side, said meteorologist Chris Geelhart. Monday's temperature data won't be available from that site until early Tuesday morning, according to meteorologist Scott Baker, but it was recorded at -13 degrees at the Decatur Airport at 6 p.m.

"The preliminary number will go down as a broken record, but we won't have the official one until tomorrow," Baker said. 

Numbers aside: It is extremely cold, and likely to remain that way for awhile.

Shamion McWilliams, a maintenance worker for the Decatur Public Library, experienced first-hand how cold it was Monday afternoon. As she worked to clear the library's North Franklin Street sidewalk of snow and ice, McWilliams said the best way for her to stay warm while working is to be active. 

"I just keep working," she said. "I don't really stop much, because the work keeps me warm."

Monday's high temperature for Decatur was 2 degrees. The weather service has issued a wind chill warning until noon Tuesday, with expected wind chills between 15 and 25 degrees below zero during the day, and 25 to 35 degrees below zero at night. Frostbite can occur as quickly as 10 to 15 minutes under these conditions, the weather service warned.

“This level of cold, we haven’t seen around here for a few years,” Geelhart said.

If it’s any consolation, the rest of the country is suffering, too. Geelhart said the only place in in the contiguous United States that is really warm is Central and Southern Florida, where temperatures are in the 50s and 60s. Even New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama, got well below freezing last night, he said.

The following warming centers are available in Macon County: 


Decatur Civic Center, 1 Gary K. Anderson Plaza

  • Sunday-Thursday, 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Friday-Saturday, 7:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m.

Oasis Day Center, 243 W. Cerro Gordo St.

  • 7 days a week, 7 a.m.-5 p.m.

Decatur-Macon County Senior Center, 1430 N. 22nd St.

  • Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

Macon County Department of Human Services, 707 E. Wood St.

  • Monday-Friday, 8:30-5 p.m.

Good Samaritan Inn, 920 N. Union St.

  • Hot meals served daily 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., seven days a week

Salvation Army, 137 S. Church St.

  • Men’s overnight shelter
  • 30 "cold cots" available through April, depending on weather
  • Doors open at 4 p.m., closes for day at 7 a.m.


Forsyth Public Library, 268 S. Elwood

  • Monday and Tuesday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.
  • Wednesday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Thursday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.
  • Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Saturday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Sunday, closed


Community Center, 10539 S. Woodcock

  • Thursday (Dec. 28) 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
  • Closed Friday-Monday (Dec. 29-Jan. 1)
  • Reopens Tuesday (Jan. 2) 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
  • Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m.


Oreana Whitmore Community Center

  • 407 S View St.
  • Monday-Friday 8 a.m.- 4p.m.
  • By request, call Annie Kerby 217-853-2339


Village Hall, 155 Main St.

  • Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Managing Editor, Digital

Managing editor of digital for the Herald & Review.

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