Climate ChangeDisasterWorld

Winter storm packing snow, freezing rain moves across U.S.

But for those on the roads, the heavy snow created hazardous conditions.Ns News Online Desk:    CHICAGO— A major winter storm with millions of Americans in its path brought a mix of rain, freezing rain and snow to the central U.S. on Wednesday as airlines canceled thousands of flights, officials urged residents to stay off roads and schools closed campuses.

The blast of frigid weather, which began arriving Tuesday night, put a long stretch of states from New Mexico and Colorado to Maine under winter storm warnings and watches. On Wednesday morning, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan saw freezing rain, sleet and snow.

More than a foot of snow was expected in parts of central Missouri and Michigan, and up to a foot of snow could fall Wednesday and Thursday in central and northeastern Illinois. Twelve to 18 inches (30 to 45 centimeters) of snow was possible in areas of northern Indiana, said Andrew Orrison, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in College Park, Maryland.

“For a lot of areas, we are going to be looking at significant amounts of snowfall and also ice,” he said.

In Chicago, Elisha Waldman and his sons welcomed the opportunity to hit a sledding hill Wednesday morning, even as snow was falling over the city.

“Cold and wet and wonderful, and getting cold and wet is part of the fun with the guys, and we get to go inside and have hot cocoa and warm up,” Waldman said.

In Detroit’s western suburbs, Tony Haley also found an advantage to the weather. He owns a landscaping and irrigation company that offers snow removal and salting services, but the early winter weeks offered few opportunities for business.

“This one here, we’re looking for a good two, three days of work,” Haley said after clearing snow away from several businesses in Canton.

But for those on the roads, the heavy snow created hazardous conditions.

“We’re receiving a lot of snow over here in northwest Indiana and it’s the wet, slushy snow that causes treacherous driving conditions to say the least,” Indiana State Police Sgt. Glen Fifield told WFLD-TV.

In central Missouri, officials shut down part of Interstate 70 midday after a crash made the roadway impassable.

Areas south of the heavy snow were expected to see freezing rain, with the heaviest ice predicted along the lower Ohio Valley area from Louisville, Kentucky, to Memphis, Tennessee.

“If everything holds to where it is right now, this is the real deal,” said Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, who ordered state government offices to close on Thursday. “It is dangerous. People need to be prepared.”The storm’s path extended as far south as Texas, nearly a year after a catastrophic freeze buckled the state’s power grid in one of the worst blackouts in U.S. history. The forecast did not call for the same prolonged and frigid temperatures as the February 2021 storm, and the National Weather Service said the system would, generally, not be as bad this time for Texas.

No large-scale power outages were reported by early afternoon Wednesday in Texas or elsewhere, according to poweroutage.us.Airlines canceled more than 2,000 flights in the U.S.

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