Blizzard threatens U.S. central plains with two feet of snow

A woman walks down the street during a blizzard in Long Beach, New York, U.S. January 4, 2018.

By Peter Szekely

(Reuters) – A late-winter storm this week could dump up to two feet (60 cm) of snow in the U.S. central Plains states, potentially snarling travel and bringing flooding to the Upper Midwest, U.S. forecasters said on Tuesday.

The storm, now brewing as low-pressure center in the southwest, will quickly move into the Rocky Mountains and deliver one to two feet of snow with blizzard conditions in much of Colorado and parts of Wyoming, Nebraska and South Dakota, the National Weather Service predicted.

The biggest air travel hub likely to be affected by the snow is Denver International Airport, but cross-continental air travel lanes could be disrupted as well as the system brings a line of rain squalls eastward, forecasters said.

“The snow will really start picking up by later tonight into the day on Wednesday,” meteorologist Mark Chenard said in a Tuesday phone interview from the NWS Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.

The storm will also bring heavy rain to areas of eastern Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota that already have a good deal of snow on the ground, the NWS said.

“We could have the potential for major river flooding, given the rain and the snow melt,” Chenard said.

An earlier round of heavy, wet snow caused several roofs to collapse in the Upper Midwest last weekend, including those of a church and a hotel.

By Thursday, the storm system will weaken as it moves over the Tennessee River Valley, bringing mostly rain from Michigan southward to the Gulf Coast and some remaining snow only in the far northern parts of the country, he added.


(Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York; Editing by Scott Malone and Steve Orlofsky)

Blizzards In Rockies; Tornadoes In Midwest

A surprisingly strong storm caused over 25 tornadoes to touch down in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Indiana according to local officials and the National Weather Service.

One twister that struck Sutton, Nebraska blew the roof off City Hall and completely destroyed at least one farm outside of the town.  Police Chief Tracey Landenberger said it was so dark that you couldn’t see anything.  Chief Landenberger suffered minor injuries by flying glass.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency after a tornado destroyed or damaged up to 300 homes in Orrick, Missouri, about 30 miles east of Kansas City.

The tornadoes had to share the weather news day with a freak winter storm in the Rocky Mountains.

The National Weather Service issued multiple Winter Storm Warnings and said at one point high winds and blowing snow forced the closure of 150 miles of Interstate 80 in Wyoming.

Meteorologists say the storm is so slow moving that parts of Denver could get an additional 9 inches of accumulation during the day Monday and that higher elevations could receive well over a foot of new precipitation.