Massive winter storm: Chicago socked by blizzard; millions could be affected
Snow falls on the Cloud Gate sculpture in Chicago's Millennium Park.
February 1st, 2011
09:44 AM ET

Massive winter storm: Chicago socked by blizzard; millions could be affected

A massive snowstorm is raging across the U.S. heartland. The weather will affect areas from New England to New Mexico, and travelers should brace for as many as four days of serious storm conditions, said CNN meteorologist Rob Marciano. Travel will probably be difficult if not impossible in many areas, the National Weather Service warns.

Share your snow images with CNN iReport. Follow @CNNTravel on Twitter for the latest updates.

[Update 11 p.m. ET]  Blizzard warnings were up Tuesday night in eight states - from Kansas to Ohio. The storm system formed an arc that was centered in the Great Lakes region and stretched from northeastern Kansas in the west to the edge of Chesapeake Bay in the east. The stem of the storm brought needed rain to much of the Southeast, but unwelcome ice and hard freeze warnings in other places, as far south as Corpus Christi, Texas. Parts of the Florida Panhandle, southwestern Georgia and southeastern Alabama were under tornado watches.

[Update 10:20 p.m. ET] At Chicago's Wrigley Field, a panel of the roof above the press box was damaged by the extreme winds accompanying Tuesday night's blizzard, said Peter Chase, Chicago Cubs media relations director. Part of the fiber board panel broke away, and the Cubs are working with the city to ensure there aren't any public safety issues. Police have roped off various streets and sidewalks as a precaution. 

[Update 10 p.m. ET] Lake Shore Drive in downtown Chicago is shut down due to blizzard conditions, according to the Chicago Police Department. Get details from CNN affiliate WLS.

[Update 8 p.m. ET] The National Weather Service forecasts and advisories through Wednesday night read like the Abominable Snow Monster's Christmas list: Up to 14 inches of snow in South Bend, Indiana, with winds up to 30 mph; gusts of up to 38 mph in Saginaw, Michigan, with wind chills of 10 below zero the next two nights; as much as 13 inches of new snow in Berlin, New Hampshire, by Wednesday night; hard freeze warnings in Houston and Galveston, Texas. In Illinois, all major thoroughfares from I-70 and further north were covered with - or had patches of - ice and snow, according to the state Department of Transportation.

[Update 7 p.m. ET] Quincy, Massachusetts, a Boston suburb of 92,000 residents, budgeted $750,000 for snow removal this fiscal year. Before this week’s storm it had already spent double that amount, and the city expects it’ll triple its original allotment by the end of the week.   “Snow, you don’t skimp on. You have to do it,” said Chris Walker, director of policy and information for the city. 

[Update 5:15 p.m. ET] In Ohio's Miami Valley, freezing rain led to power outages, with about 200 reported before 4 p.m., Dayton Power and Light told CNN affiliate WHIO-TV. With winds forecast to pick up in the evening, the utility was preparing for more. The massive storm was forecast to spawn snow, ice and bitter cold from New Mexico to Maine. Forecasters said as many as 100 million people in the United States will feel its effects.

[Update 4:15 p.m. ET]  More than 1,300 flights were canceled at the O'Hare airport in Chicago on Tuesday. Few flights, if any, are expected to operate out of the airport on Wednesday, said Karen Pride, a spokeswoman for the Chicago Department of Aviation. United Airlines, Continental Airlines and American Airlines are suspending operations at the airport after 6 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

[Update 2:50 p.m. ET] Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe has declared a State of Emergency as winter storms hit.

[Update 2:30 p.m. ET] A large tent that was scheduled to shelter partiers Friday and Saturday at Super Bowl XLV has collapsed under the weight of ice and snow, CNN affiliates are reporting.

[Update 2:20 p.m. ET] An ice storm warning was issued in Indianapolis. Roads will become impassable, and widespread, long-duration power outages are likely, officials said.

[Update 2 p.m. ET] The Tulsa, Oklahoma, National Weather Service Forecast Office recorded 12.3 inches of snow accumulation as of noon Central time on Tuesday. That makes this week's storm the largest in Tulsa's history. The largest snow storm occurred in March of 1994 when 12.9 inches of snow fell on the city. Moderate to heavy snow is still falling.

[Update 1:30 p.m. ET] The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety reports numerous vehicles stranded on the Will Rogers Turnpike in northeastern Oklahoma. The National Guard is rescuing people that are stranded in their vehicles on the turnpike, the department said. The turnpike is closed to all traffic.

[Update 1:15 p.m. ET] Dozens of flights for Wednesday are already canceled at Kansas City International Airport. Ice and snow is sweeping across the Plains.

Watch how 100 million people could be affected by the storm.

[Update 12:25 p.m. ET] A partial roof collapse at Hard Rock Casino has occurred near Tulsa, Oklahoma. No injuries have been reported.

– In Northwest Ohio, Interstate 75 is closed due to ice and wrecks.

– The roof of a lumber company has reportedly collapsed in Grand Haven, Michigan.

[Update 11:55 a.m. ET] Chicago is expected to get two feet of snow in the next 24 hours, according to the Chicago Tribune - that's more dire than what was reported earlier Tuesday. The National Weather Service is describing the storm as "potentially life-threatening" for people who venture outdoors. Winds in and near the city could gust up to 60 mph, the NWS says. Power outages are likely. Hundreds of flights at O'Hare airport have been reportedly canceled. The Chicago Weather Center is tracking.

– Several roads and highways in Oklahoma are closed, KOTV reports.

[Update 11:30 a.m. ET] Dallas Fort Worth International Airport has reopened one runway, according to airport spokesman David Magana. The airport has a total of seven runways. It was closed Tuesday at 9:15 a.m. due to ice. Magana says DFW officials are expecting 400 to 500 flight cancellations today. Normal air traffic for DFW is 800 daily flights.

– Wind chills in Omaha, Nebraska, are expected to reach -25 degrees overnight with actual highs only in the single digits on Wednesday, KETV reports.

[Update 11:10 a.m. ET] Detroit officials are saying it could be the worst snow storm to strike since 2005 when 12.2 inches fell. Seven to 12 inches of snow is expected to fall across metro Detroit late Tuesday night and into Wednesday.  The record is 24.5 inches set April 6, 1886. For a comprehensive look at conditions, click here.

– Four states are under a state of emergency and have called in the National Guard. They are  Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas and Illinois.

[10:55 a.m. ET] Four thousand flights have been canceled due to the bad weather. Eight states have active blizzard warnings. In Oklahoma, snow is falling at 2 to 3 inches per hour.

[10:47 a.m. ET] Dallas Cowboys stadium sacked with snow. Road conditions in Dallas are terrible in these few days left before Super Bowl XLV happens at the stadium in Arlington.

[10:40 a.m. ET] Tornado warnings issued for parts of Louisiana.

[Update 10:10 a.m. ET] Sleet is coming down in St. Louis where ice already coats trees, CNN's Reynolds Wolf reports from the Missouri city. Subzero temperatures are expected across the Plains.

New Yorkers are preparing for snow as mounds already piled on Long Island.

– In Mattapan, Massachusetts, transit authorities tried to clear snow.

– Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy has activated the state's emergency operations center.

[9:25 a.m. ET] Ice has closed Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and at least 300 outbound flights were canceled, spokesman David Magana said. Meanwhile, Dallas' Love Field is down to one open runway, according to the FAA.

– Blizzard conditions expected across portions of eight states, from Oklahoma to Michigan. Winds gusting up to 40 mph are predicted.

– Oklahoma is under a state of emergency, and Missouri has mobilized 600 National Guard troops to help cope with the storm.

– Chicago is going to get hit hard, forecasters said. Combined snow totals through Wednesday may exceed a foot and a half across much of northern Illinois and far northwest Indiana, according to the National Weather Service.

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Filed under: Weather • Winter weather
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Monte

    Don't come to Florida. It's cold here too. Winter Haven only got up to 76 today.

    February 2, 2011 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
  2. Justin

    My father has been trapped in his car on LSD just South of North/Lassalle for about 5 hours now. Seems to me they shut down Lakeshore without considering how to get everybody off during the middle of rush hour... a lot of people are going to be looking for a resignation over something this mismanaged.

    February 2, 2011 at 12:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Sharpshooter78

      From what I understand, everything was fine though crowded till the CTA bus spun out on Belmont. Then another accident happened at North. Remember, LSD doesn't really have much in terms of shoulders, so it's hard to clear people off the road if you no one can't get to them.

      February 2, 2011 at 2:10 am | Report abuse |
  3. Philip

    @sharpshooter78...what is LSD? Latter-Day Saint drive? Lake Shore drive...or am I hallucinating? he he

    February 2, 2011 at 2:49 am | Report abuse |
  4. Philip

    ...and your s/n reminds me of a fellow I met here a while back, whitekong78. I miss him and Protoman too. Wonder where they went from time to time.

    February 2, 2011 at 2:51 am | Report abuse |
  5. Cesar

    I wonder if Gerald is correct about his assertion?

    February 2, 2011 at 3:29 am | Report abuse |
  6. Dan Braun

    Ice melts, Puts moisture in the air, Moisture makes snow, Snow comes back down = Global warming. This is why the weather is so out of control all over the world, floods in Australia, insane hurricanes in tropical and temperate climates. Everything's shifting.

    February 2, 2011 at 6:45 am | Report abuse |
  7. saveenergyus

    Though many climate deniers talk about the extreme winter as proof there is no climate change, they miss the point. Aside from the fact that we just had the warmest decade in recorded history, and one of the warmest years, the real point is that our climate is changing, and as the climate models predict, weather is becoming more extreme.

    The insurance industry is paying attention to the models and, as with earthquake insurance, the consumer will ultimately pay for the increased property loss that results from extreme weather.

    Just look at the past year – extreme flooding in Australia, extreme rain in southern California , extreme winter in the northeast, the list goes on...

    I put together some info on extreme weather trends at:

    http://8020vision.com/2010/12/22/californias-other-storm-of-the-century/

    I include a stunning video of the result of extreme rain in Italy, and a good chart of the trend in weather related damage.

    Jay Kimball
    8020 Vision

    February 2, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  8. ziqin87

    Hello friends

    February 2, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Nick69

    It was a rough winter and now summer is almost over...here we go again!

    Tent Reviews

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    • Nick69

      http://www.tentreviewsguide.com

      August 22, 2011 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
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