Parts of Midwest hit by heavy snow as holiday travel looms

21 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Midwest Winter Storm Dumps Season’s First Snow, Disrupts Travel.

More than a foot of snow fell on parts of the Midwest Saturday in the first significant wintry storm of the season, creating hazardous driving conditions for travelers gearing up for Thanksgiving treks. The National Weather Service said the storm has already dumped from 8 to 16 inches of snow in a band from southeastern South Dakota to southern Wisconsin.

While winter has not officially begun, the shovels and snowblowers were out from South Dakota and southern Minnesota, to Iowa, Wisconsin and northern Illinois. Winter weather advisories were posted for much of Lower Michigan and far northern Indiana, including Detroit, Grand Rapids and Lansing, the Weather Channel reported. The storm system was moving east and will last through Saturday evening, when it tails through Michigan, according to Richard Otto, lead forecaster at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Weather Prediction Center. About 250 flights in and out of the busy airport had been canceled by Saturday morning, according to the tracking website FlightAware.com, while Midway International Airport had canceled about 100 flights. The Illinois Tollway, which maintains interstate tollways in 11 counties, said it had 185 snowplows ready to go and 84,000 tons of salt stockpiled, the Associated Press reports.

Tractor-trailers pulled off slow-moving interstates to park for the day, said Bret Brown, a cashier at Roadway Express truck stop in Sioux Falls. “A lot of people complaining about it, nobody wants to be out in it,” he said. “Interstates are down to 10 miles per hour, the side streets are blocked and there’s a lot of cars in ditches everywhere.” The weather service also issued a winter storm watch for northern Indiana, saying snow accumulations of 4 to 7 inches are possible. Ice control material, including sand, rock salt and calcium chloride, were already mixed and drivers had conducted a “dry sweep” of their routes to check for fallen or overhanging trees and defects, he said. “It’s a big deal for people to get used to the first snow but our snow plow drivers have 15 years of experience so it’s kind of ‘old hat’ to them,” said Bailey.

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