Massive winter storm sweeps across the United States

CHICAGO — Americans from the Rocky Mountains to the Great Lakes woke up Wednesday to heavy snowfall as a sprawling storm system disrupte...

CHICAGO — Americans from the Rocky Mountains to the Great Lakes woke up Wednesday to heavy snowfall as a sprawling storm system disrupted travel and forced some school districts and colleges to cancel classes.

More than 1,400 flights have been canceled nationwide, according to FlightAwarea tracking website and Amtrak suspended train service across the Midwest and South. In Missouri, officials said some highways had become treacherous. And in Illinois, where 11 inches of snow fell in some places, the state Department of Transportation warned of the “potential for extremely dangerous and, at times, deadly travel” on the freeways.

“Peoria hasn’t seen snow like this in years,” officials in the central Illinois town said on Twitter as they urged residents to stay off the roads. bus service in Peoria has been largely cancelled.

The storm was expected to continue moving across the Midwest on Wednesday, bringing snow from Kansas eastward to Ohio and Michigan.

“It’s winter in Cleveland, folks,” said city mayor Justin Bibb. “This is not our first storm, and it certainly won’t be our last.”

To the south, however, where extreme winter conditions are less common, forecasters have warned of the risk of ice buildups that could lead to power outages. In many of those areas, the worst of the storm was not expected until later Wednesday, when temperatures are expected to dip below freezing.

In Dallas, the public school system canceled classes Thursday and Friday. In Lubbock, Texas, the city urged residents to sign up for emergency alerts, and Drew Koeritzer, a National Weather Service meteorologist, warned that freezing rain and falling temperatures could make getting around difficult. In Arkansas, residents stocked groceries for supplies as the governor activated the National Guard, and officials warned the ice could topple trees and power lines.

“As far as ice goes, it’s just a completely different animal,” Arkansas Department of Transportation spokesman Dave Parker told local reporters.

Much of Tennessee was facing flood threats, with three to five inches of precipitation expected in some areas. Parts of the state were also bracing for half an inch of ice on Thursday and Friday.

“Any ice here is rare and could cause glazing and road issues,” said Faith Borden, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Nashville. “We are not used to that here. That could be a problem.”

As of Wednesday morning, disruptions were already mounting in the Midwest. Semi-trucks and other large vehicles were banned from the Ohio Turnpike until noon Friday. In Indianapolis, where the snow had yet to start, crews were largely unable to treat the roads ahead of time as ongoing heavy rains washed away the salt. And in Missouri, a shortage of snowplow drivers has added to the challenge of clearing the streets.

In St. Louis, public school students have moved to online instruction. In Kansas, major universities canceled classes and the state health department closed some Covid-19 testing sites.

Mark Nelson, a farmer in eastern Kansas, said he welcomed the snowfall as much-needed moisture for dry soils and depleted ponds. But he was watching his cattle closely, especially since dozens of them were due to give birth in the coming days. Mr Nelson checked the animals several times overnight and was carrying the litter to his snowy pasture on Wednesday morning.

“If you can shield them from the direct wind and they have something to eat, they’ll be fine,” Nelson said.

Reporting was provided by Eric Berger in St. Louis, Ben Fenwick in Oklahoma City, Carey Gillam in Overland Park, Kan., Lucinda Holt in Lubbock, Texas, Amy Lynch in Indianapolis, Jamie McGee in Nashville, Daniel McGraw in Cleveland, Bret Schulte in Arkansas and Marina Trahan Martinez in Dallas. Jesus Jiménez also contributed to the report.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Massive winter storm sweeps across the United States
Massive winter storm sweeps across the United States
Newsrust - US Top News
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