A woman walks along a street during a snowstorm in Chicago. Photo by Reuters.
A deadly late winter storm has dumped heavy snow on the
Midwestern United States, contributing to numerous automobile
accidents and flight cancellations as it moves east toward
the Ohio Valley and the mid-Atlantic states.
In Chicago, where the National Weather Service issued a
winter storm warning effective through midnight, residents
girded for 10cm to 20cm of snow - much of it expected to fall
during the evening commute.
As rush hour began, wind-whipped snow was falling at a heavy
rate throughout the Chicago area, according to the Illinois
State Patrol, reducing visibility to less than half a mile
and causing heavy delays on roads in the region.
Monique Bond, a spokeswoman with the Illinois State Patrol,
said bad weather may have been a contributing factor in a
deadly crash on Interstate Highway 70 in Marshall, Illinois
near the Indiana border.
A female driver headed east on I-70 crossed the median and
crashed into a westbound tanker trunk. The driver of the car
and her young child died in the accident.
Most of the other weather-related incidents the state patrol
responded to were spinouts involving single vehicles, Bond
More than 1100 flights were cancelled in and out of Chicago's
O'Hare and Midway airports, according to the Chicago
Department of Aviation. Another 107 were cancelled at
Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, according to the
FlightAware.com flight tracking service.
At a late morning press conference hosted by Chicago Mayor
Rahm Emanuel, the city's Office of Emergency Management and
Communications said nearly 300 snow plows were working to
keep the city's 4100 miles of roads clear.
Southwest Airlines canceled all of its flights in and out of
Chicago's Midway Airport through 6pm as a precaution, the
Chicago Department of Aviation said.
Hundreds of schools were closed in northern Illinois,
according to local media. But for the more than 400,000
students enrolled in Chicago's public school system, the
nation's third-largest school district, normal class
schedules were in effect, according to the district.
Roads in northwest Illinois had patches of ice and snow and
road crews were bracing in northeast Illinois for the storm,
which began dropping snow on Chicago near the middle of the
morning rush hour.
Monique Bond, a spokeswoman for the Illinois State Police,
said that as of noon Central time, there were no serious
crashes anywhere in the state and no traffic accident
fatalities blamed on the storm.
In western Wisconsin, a semi-tractor flipped off an
Interstate 94 bridge and fully submerged in the Red Cedar
River in Menomonie, said Christine Ouellete, a Wisconsin
Transportation Department spokeswoman.
Wisconsin rescue crews recovered the body of a man thought to
be the driver of the truck and were searching for the body of
his co-driver, who was presumed dead, State Patrol Lieutenant
Jeff Lorentz said.
Wisconsin's transportation department listed numerous roads
as snow-covered or slippery from the storm across
southwestern Wisconsin, but no road closings.
Slick roads contributed to numerous crashes and a slow
commute across the border in Minnesota. Driving conditions
remained difficult along highways in parts of North Dakota.
Minnesota's public safety department reported 122 crashes,
but no fatalities from the storm so far. Several spots around
the Twin Cities area reported nine inches of snow and driving
conditions on highways throughout the Twin Cities were still
listed as "difficult" hours after the storm passed through.
The storm was expected to move eastward over the Ohio Valley
and then the central Appalachians and mid-Atlantic states on
Wednesday (local time), hitting Washington with its biggest
snowfall in possibly two years, the National Weather Service
Winter storm warnings were in effect for all or parts of 16
states from the Upper Midwest to the mid-Atlantic on Tuesday,
National Weather Service spokesman Chris Vaccaro said.
The storm was forecast to move across Ohio and the Tennessee
Valley and merge with a developing storm off the mid-Atlantic
states that could produce heavy, wet snow overnight and
through Wednesday into the mid-Atlantic states that could
bring down trees and power lines, Vaccaro said.
"It will be a wet, heavy, gloppy snow consistent with
wallpaper paste," he said.