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Winter storm slams Midwest

A huge winter storm dropped more than a foot of snow on some Midwestern cities Thursday and into Friday.

BY HEATHER MOYER | CHICAGO, Ill. | December 1, 2006

A huge winter storm dropped more than a foot of snow on some Midwestern cities Thursday and into Friday, and is expected to cause more problems as it moves east.

Three traffic deaths are also being blamed on the winter storm, which covered highways with ice and snow from Texas and Oklahoma to Illinois and Wisconsin. Some interstates are closed because of poor visibility and slick conditions, including part of I-70 in Missouri. Police in several states are reporting hundreds of car accidents as vehicles slide out of control.

The National Weather Service reports that 15 to 18 inches of snow fell in parts of central and northeast Missouri, with other parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Wisconsin and Illinois receiving anywhere from five to 11 inches. Some 450,000 residents in Missouri and Illinois are without power Friday due to the storm's high winds as well.

Hundreds of flights have been canceled in Chicago as whiteout conditions plague the area. Some counties in southeast Wisconsin are under a blizzard warning as heavy snow continues to fall there and in central and northeast Illinois.

The snow turned into ice and sleet early Friday in some areas of Missouri and Illinois, which is expected to further hamper travel and cleanup work. Flights in Kansas City and St. Louis are moving well again after many were affected Thursday afternoon and evening.

Much of southern and central Michigan is under winter weather and ice storm warnings from the National Weather Service. High wind warnings are also in effect for much of the eastern seaboard as the storm is expected to bring gusts of 40 to 50 miles per hour to states like New York, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Where the storm isn't dumping snow, heavy rains are prompting flash flood warnings across parts of Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. The storm is expected to bring more heavy rain to the East Coast, and flash flood watches are in effect for parts of Pennsylvania, western New York, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.

According to the National Weather Service, this powerful storm is "a very strong cold front pushing across the central U.S....which is bringing arctic air into the region while warm moist air is surging north from the Gulf of Mexico ahead of this cold front. These colliding air masses have been responsible for a mixture of heavy rain, freezing rain, sleet and snow across parts of the Southern Plains, mid-Mississippi River Valley and the Central Midwest."

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