Half-empty parking lots and darkened storefronts were the result of a massive power outage Sunday in Champaign–Urbana’s commerce district.
As of 1 p.m. Sunday, nearly all businesses and restaurants north of Marketview Drive were without power. The Market Place Mall was also affected.
On what tends to be one of the larger shopping weekends of the year, Champaign-Urbana’s northern business district came to a virtual standstill, not only economically but also in terms of traffic. With the majority of the area’s traffic lights down, motorists were creeping through intersections searching for somewhere to spend their pre-holiday dollars.
“It’s going pretty good so far,” said Tanneah Foreman, a Target employee, one of the few stores with enough emergency lighting and working registers to keep its doors open during the outage.
Inside Target, shoppers wandered through darkened aisles, but they still managed to fill their carts. Around 11:30 a.m., five registers at Target were open with a line several people deep in each.
The power flickered on and off for several hours Sunday morning before going out altogether around 11 a.m.
Ameren IP, the local energy provider, worked on the issue into early afternoon. It was unclear whether the area’s ice storm had an impact. By 2 p.m. power had been restored to most facilities.