Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
Research | By Jody Lindsey

Spring storm moves east after blanketing central U.S. in snow

Spring storm moves east after blanketing central U.S. in snow

Hundreds of flights have been cancelled and roadways are treacherous in parts of the midwestern United States as a huge deadly storm system rolls across the centre of the country, bringing heavy snow, strong winds, rain and hail.

The storms stretch from the Gulf Coast to the Midwest and were moving into the Northeast and New England on Sunday, said Marc Chenard, a meteorologist with the NWS's Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.

James Schoenhard plows sidewalks with his team in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on Saturday.

From Sunday afternoon, 1,689 flights had been canceled out or into of USA airports, so the website flightaware.com reported, " including 134 flights at or outside of the Minneapolis-St. The National Weather Service predicts 9 to 15 inches of snow across a large swath of southern Minnesota including the Twin Cities before it's all over. Sunday's game was also called off because of the storm, which by Saturday night had buried Minneapolis under more than 13 inches of snow (33 centimeters).

Authorities closed several highways in southwestern Minnesota, where no travel was advised, and driving conditions were hard across the southern half of the state. Winds of up to 88 kilometres an hour caused blowing and drifting snow, along with ice shoves in Green Bay.

The weather service also warned of potential coastal flooding along Lake Michigan in Wisconsin and IL, where Chicago residents were warned that waves could reach as high as 18 feet. On Saturday, the storm caused the cancellation of almost 470 flights at the airport. Parts of the state that were already blanketed were getting a second helping of snow Sunday. Snow fell in various parts of the state, including 46cm in Huron.

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The storm is expected to last throughout the weekend.

In Michigan, where snowfall was expected to reach 18 inches (46 cm) in some areas, about 325,000 homes and businesses were without power, majority in the southeast of the state.

The storms also killed a one-year-old girl when a tree fell on a recreational vehicle where she was sleeping, the sheriff's office in Bossier Parish, Louisiana, said. A Wisconsin woman was killed when she lost control of her minivan on slick roads and veered into an oncoming SUV. An Idaho truck driver died when his semitrailer struck a semi in western Nebraska that had been stranded on a highway by the bad weather.

The heaviest snows of 12 inches to 18 inches (30-46 cm) hit upper MI and Wisconsin, while the southern portions of those two states were experiencing ice storms, Hurley said.

On Friday, the weather system produced 17 reports of tornadoes in Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri and Texas, with four people injured and 160 buildings damaged in a possible tornado in northwest Arkansas, local media reported. Powerful winds also damaged several buildings at the University of Central Arkansas, though no injuries were reported there. Two runways were open, but winds were still strong and planes were being deiced, spokesman Patrick Hogan said.

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