‘This is historic snow’: major winter storm blankets parts of US | US weather



A major winter storm blanketed parts of the middle of the US with snow that was forecast into late Tuesday in some areas, disrupting traffic and closing coronavirus testing sites.

“This is historic snow,” said one National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologist, based near Omaha, Nebraska.

The NWS said at least 4in of snow was expected across most of an area from central Kansas north-east to Chicago and southern Michigan. Parts of south-eastern Nebraska and western Iowa could get more than three times that much by Tuesday morning.

More than 10in had fallen in parts of eastern Nebraska by Monday evening, leading to early closures of several coronavirus testing sites in the state as well as Iowa. NWS meteorologist Taylor Nicolaisen, near Omaha, said 10in to 15in of snow was likely between York, Nebraska, and Des Moines, Iowa, and that it has been at least 15 years since that area received more than a foot of snow in a single storm.

The weather service forecast the snowfall that began around sunset on Monday in northern Illinois was expected to get heavier overnight, with about 3in to 6in possible by early Tuesday. Meteorologist Bett Borchardt forecast snowfall up to 8in or more before it ends Tuesday evening.

The last comparable snowfall hit the area in November 2018, when 8.4in fell.

A winter weather advisory was issued Monday for north-west Indiana, where the weather service forecasted 3in to 5in inches of snow by the time the storm leaves the area. A mix of freezing drizzle was expected in the region’s southern area.

The break in the relatively mild winter in northern Illinois may mean the rest of the season could be more active, said weather service meteorologist Matt Friedlein.

“Now, more active does not necessarily mean more snow,” Friedlein told the Chicago Sun-Times. “If we stay on the milder side of things, that could be more rain or more mixed precipitation.”

Chicago officials created warming centers in libraries and park facilities for residents who have no power or heat. By late Monday, 120 flights had been canceled at O’Hare and 48 flights at Midway airport, with delays at both facilities.

In the south, a tornado touched down in an Alabama city north of Birmingham, damaging businesses and homes and toppling power lines and trees. Damage was being evaluated to determine the tornado’s strength, which hit the Fultondale area of Jefferson county late Monday night, the NWS in Birmingham said. Injuries ranging from minor to severe have been reported and search and rescue efforts were ongoing.

In the south-west, a storm was forecast to bring gusts and snowfall into Tuesday, the NWS said. Over the weekend, more than a foot of snow fell in southern California’s mountains, making driving conditions hazardous. Until recently, California had been experiencing significantly dry weather accompanied by relentless wildfires. A band of clouds suggested more rain could fall Tuesday north and south of San Francisco Bay, bringing the threat of possible flash floods and landslides in areas scarred by the fires.

Sacramento-area NWS forecasters predict an abundance of snow in the Sierra Nevada this week that will make travel difficult. A major winter storm buried northern Arizona in snow on Monday while sending flurries to the outskirts of Las Vegas and Phoenix.

Most of Nevada was bracing for another series of powerful winter storms that could bring rare snowfall to the Las Vegas Strip late Monday or early Tuesday and several feet to the mountains above Lake Tahoe with winds up to 60mph.


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