Winter storm packing snow, freezing rain moves across US

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.

By midday Wednesday, some places had already reported snow totals exceeding or nearing a foot, including the central Illinois town of Lewistown with 14.4 inches (36.6 centimeters) and the northeastern Missouri city of Hannibal with 11.5 inches (29.2 centimeters).

But for those on the roads, the heavy snow created hazardous conditions. “And it’s still snowing across these areas,” said Andrew Orrison, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in College Park, Maryland.

“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.

The disruptive storm moved across the central U.S. on Groundhog Day, the same day the famed groundhog Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter. The storm came on the heels of a nor’easter last weekend that brought blizzard conditions to many parts of the East Coast.

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.

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