Severe weather from Chicago to Boston as monster storm arrives
Severe weather, in the form of snow, is headed for St. Louis, Kansas City, Chicago, and Milwaukee. A monster storm could dump up to two-feet of snow and drifts piled up to 10 feet.
A monster winter storm took aim at one-third of the nation Monday, threatening to lay a potentially deadly path of heavy snow and ice from the Rockies to New England, followed by a wave of bitter, bone-rattling cold that could affect tens of millions of people.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Cities including St. Louis, Kansas City, and Milwaukee could be hardest hit with the severe weather. Cities are bracing for midweek snowfalls of up to 2 feet and drifts piled 5 to 10 feet. Even hardy Chicago could be in for its third-worst blizzard since record-keeping began.
"I wouldn't want to be on the road in open areas tomorrow night," said forecaster Tom Skilling of Chicago television station WGN. "I don't think I'd want to be driving in the city either. The fact is people die in these things. They skid off the road and go wandering around in whiteout conditions."
Warmer areas were not safe, either. The system could spawn tornadoes in parts of the South.
While record snowfalls have pounded the Northeast in one of that region's most brutal winters, the Midwest has been comparatively unscathed, until now.
At Edele and Mertz Hardware just a few blocks from the Anheuser-Busch brewery in St. Louis, customers lined up by 7 a.m. Monday waiting for the store to open. Snow shovels, ice melt and salt were all big sellers.
As the first flakes fell, transportation officials readied street-clearing equipment, and some airlines encouraged travelers to rebook trips leaving from Chicago. Airlines canceled thousands of flights ahead of the snow.
Snow slows Super Bowl travel
The National Weather Service suggested any Green Bay Packers fans planning to drive from Wisconsin to Dallas for the Super Bowl avoid leaving before Wednesday afternoon, when authorities hope to have cleaned up the worst of the mess along the route.
In St. Louis and much of Missouri, residents braced for a particularly hazardous mix: up to an inch of ice, followed by 3 to 4 inches of sleet, then perhaps a half-foot of snow or more. To the west in Columbia, Mo., forecasters predicted between 12 inches and 16 inches of snow, prompting the University of Missouri to cancel classes through Tuesday night.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency and activated 600 members of the National Guard.
In Chicago, forecasters predicted 20 inches of snow. If that holds true, it would be the city's third-biggest snowstorm, overshadowed only by the 21.6 inches in 1999 and the mother of all Chicago snowstorms, the 23 inches of snow that fell in 1967.