Storm barrels through U.S. Midwest with snow and frigid temperatures

Satellite image from the National Weather Service. 2-9-18

By Brendan O’Brien and Suzannah Gonzales

MILWAUKEE, Wis./CHICAGO (Reuters) – A major winter storm barreled into Chicago and Milwaukee early on Friday, dumping heavy snow and dropping temperatures well below freezing as it forced schools to close and threatened to leave travel at a stand still across the Midwest.

The storm system stretches from western Montana across the Dakotas and parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois, and reaches as far east as southern Michigan. The storm could drop up to 14 inches (36 cm) of snow in some areas, the National Weather Service said.

Chicago was anticipating six to 12 inches of snow early on Friday morning with more snow expected over the weekend, according to the service’s weather forecast.

“The city is ready for this,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said during a news conference about the city’s preparedness on Thursday. “Make no mistake though, this is a heavy snow, heavier than we’ve seen in a number of winters.”

City officials announced school closures in Chicago, Detroit and Milwaukee because of the weather.

Wind chill temperatures were expected to drop below 0 Fahrenheit (-18 C) in many areas across the region, and officials warned of limited visibility on roads.

Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway international airports canceled more than 200 flights on Thursday before the storm hit, and several airlines were also anticipating delays or cancellations.

United Airlines said on Twitter that waivers were in effect for snow-hit areas this week allowing travelers to change flights without charges, and Delta Air Lines offered to rebook flights on Friday for 18 Midwest cities.

Winter weather across the United States this week killed several people in accidents in the Midwest, including six in Iowa, two in Missouri and one in Montana, local media in those states reported.

(Editing by Peter Graff)

Blizzard baring down on North, South Dakota

December 26th Weather map

(Reuters) – North and South Dakota entered a second day of blizzard conditions on Monday as a strong winter storm closed roads across the region.

The National Weather Service forecast as many as 15 inches of snow to fall in some areas before the storm leaves the area. Authorities in both states told drivers to stay off the roads due to low visibility, snow, wind and ice accumulations.

“Nearly every highway has been shut down (or no travel is advised) during the overnight hours across North Dakota and the western half of South Dakota,” the weather service said.

The weather service also issued blizzard and winter storm warnings for parts of Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska and Minnesota.

The Rapid City, South Dakota office of the weather service reported early on Monday morning that 5.7 inches of snow had fallen already, with more on the way. Power was out on Monday morning for more than 12,000 customers in the states as well, according to area utilities.

The storm had limited impact on people ending their Christmas holiday with plane travel. Flight tracking website flightaware.com reported fewer than 200 cancellations and delays across the country.

The storm is set to continue its northeastern track, which will take it to Quebec, Canada by Tuesday, the weather service said.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)