A large, powerful snowstorm that first hit Arizona Wednesday has moved into the Plains and Midwest, dumping over a foot of snow in some places and spawning thundersnow, a sure-fire indication of a very power winter storm. The system is responsible for closing down scores of highways across the mid portion of the United States where conditions were changing quickly as many states were being blasted by snow, cold winds, sleet and freezing drizzle.
The massive storm has already impacted about 30 million people across two dozen states and forecasters say that it would continue its trek eastward and would likely slam the Northeast this weekend. The system is expected to ease up a bit before it arrives in the Northeast, although up to 8 inches of snow could fall along the coastline from Boston to Portland.
Residents up and down the East coast were being warned to be ready for the storm that will impact the area Friday, making the commute to and from work for hundreds of thousands of people very hazardous as heavy falling snow and gusting cold winds will dramatically cut down on roadway visibility. Meanwhile, folks living in Chicago are bracing for about six inches of blowing snow Friday morning as are those living further east in places like southern lower Michigan and northern Ohio. If the National Weather Service is right about its prediction that the snow could change to freezing rain Friday morning across the Ohio Valley, roadways will become extremely hazardous just in time for the morning commute to work.
Kansas governor Sam Brownback declared a state of emergency Thursday as the storm is the biggest snow event that state has seen in several years. Kansas National Guardsmen were deployed to state highways to look for stranded motorists after more than 14 inches of snow fell. Many Kansas roadways were forced to close as the heavy falling snow coupled with high gusting winds made travel impossible.
While Brownback urged his state’s residents to stay off the roads, he did say that if people absolutely had to travel that they should be sure to take along water, food, blankets, a cell phone and other emergency supplies in case they become stranded. Missouri’s governor also declared a state of emergency in response to the massive, fierce storm that moved across his state, dumping over a foot of snow and snarling traffic. In the St. Louis area, a countless number of schools called off classes while all city offices were closed. Scores of flights at Lambert-St Louis International Airport were grounded as well, leaving dozens of would-be passengers without planes to get on.