A massive snowstorm blasted the United States heartland and brought blizzard conditions to three-quarters of the country. Chicago, Illinois, was sacked with more than two feet of snow. The city closed schools for the first time in 12 years. The ice and snow affected areas from New England to New Mexico. Thousands are without power. Most officials are urging people not to travel unless it's absolutely necessary. Share your snow images with CNN iReport. Follow @CNNTravel on Twitter for the latest updates.
[Update 11:30 p.m. ET] On Wednesday night, President Obama approved a request from Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin for an emergency disaster declaration for the state's 77 counties, a move that will expedite post-storm assistance, according to a statement from FEMA. Fallin had declared a state of emergency on Monday in advance of the storm, a release from the state's Department of Emergency Management said.
[Update 9:30 p.m. ET] An Arctic cold front followed the storm that dumped nearly 2 feet of snow in some locales, complicating cleanup efforts and spurring freeze warnings that spanned much of the nation's midsection. In much of Wisconsin, for instance, wind chill values were expected between 20 and 25 degrees below zero on Wednesday night, according to the National Weather Service.
[Update 9:20 p.m. ET] Rolling power outages swept across Texas on Wednesday as a result of the blustery weather, officials said. The Public Utility Commission of Texas said rotating outages would be limited to 10 to 45 minutes, unless equipment fails due to a power surge during the restoration process, according to the statement. Fifty power plants were out statewide due to the extreme weather, leading to the 10%-15% reduction in electricity production, said utility commission spokesman Terry Hadley.
[Update 5:10 p.m. ET] In Massachusetts, a number of roofs collapsed under the weight of rain-soaked snow, including the roof of a large commercial building in the town of Easton, according to fire captain David Beals. Up to 100 employees were evacuated before the collapse, he said. There were no injuries reported.
[Update 4:10 p.m. ET] Major airlines have canceled at least 11,000 flights since the storm began. Delta has canceled more than 1,175 flights for Wednesday, while American Airlines scrubbed more than 1,000 flights. American Airlines is allowing travelers who are scheduled to fly from more than 30 airports in the Midwest - including those in Chicago, Detroit and Milwaukee, Wisconsin - to change their plans without penalty. Hundreds of Southwest Airlines flights are grounded. Passengers with reservations for travel through Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit and other cities are eligible to reschedule their flights.
[Update 3:40 p.m. ET] Because of warming temperatures, huge chunks of ice are reportedly falling in New York.
[Update 3 p.m. ET] Interstate 70 has reopened across Missouri, transportation officials told the Kansas City Star.
[Update 2:30 p.m. ET] The massive storm is going to cost Milwaukee, Wisconsin, about $1 million, WITI reports. It's going to be quite a job, especially at the airport. Watch a plow try to make headway at Mitchell Airport.
[Update 2:15 p.m. ET] Maybe you'll recognize this building from Bill Murray's movie "Groundhog Day." It was covered by 18 to 24 inches of snow. This Woodstock, Illinois, lodge is where the bachelor dance scene was shot.
[Update 1:50 p.m. ET] Both of Chicago's airports are open but flights are grounded. Empty cars are everywhere on city streets. For hours, many were trapped in their vehicles, WLS in Chicago reports. The famous Bean sculpture in Millennium Park still looks beautiful.
– There are "waves of snow" on the shore of Lake Michigan, says iReporter Saskia Harak.
[Update 1:30 p.m. ET] Mail delivery workers are frustrated in Springfield, Massachusetts, reports CBS 3.
[Update 1 p.m. ET] Though most people had trouble getting around in Dallas on Wednesday, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay packers had an advantage - personal sand trucks to escort them from their hotel to Cowboys Stadium where they will face off at the Super Bowl on Sunday. WFAA has the full report.
– Icy conditions are making it nearly impossible to get around in Ohio, reports WBNS.
– Schools are trying to figure out how to make up snow days. Massachusetts is trying to do the math, according to WSHM. In Indianapolis, Indiana, which was hit with a major ice storm, Little People's Prep Day School and Arlington Elementary did not close. In fact, they boasted that they have never closed or altered schedules due to weather.
[Update 12:20 p.m. ET] Dallas is experiencing rolling black-outs, a highly unusual occurrence for the city. Officials are shutting off electricity in parts of the city for a short time to conserve power. WFAA explains what the outages mean. For some public transportation passengers, it means a frustrating experience.
– High winds are hampering emergency crews near Chicago, local reporters say.
[Update 11:40 a.m. ET] Tulsa International Airport will re-open at noon.
[Update 10:15 a.m. ET] At a morning press conference, Chicago emergency management director Jose Santiago said there will likely be 15 to 20 inches of snow on the ground - 25 inches in some places - by the time the storm leaves the area. A blizzard warning remains in effect for all of metropolitan Chicago until 3 p.m., Santiago said. An iReporter sent video of vicious gusts and swirling snow that hit Chicago's Magnificent Mile.
– Massachusetts state Sen. Jack Hart proposed a solution to all the snow that fell Tuesday – a Boston Snow Party. But many are taking the idea seriously. The city is reportedly seeking permission from the Department of Environmental Protection before any snow is put into Boston Harbor. iReports are flooding in of monster snow around the state. "I'm tired of shoveling!" wrote this snow buried iReporter.
– Though Dallas Forth Worth International Airport is up and running again, there are concerns that the icy weather could hurt how much business vendors do at the Super Bowl this weekend. Snow covered Dallas on Tuesday.
– Missouri looks like it won the contest among states for most snow. A reported 18.3 inches fell.
– Schools in Tulsa, Oklahoma, are closed after record snowfall hit that area.
Tuesday February 1, 2011
[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 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.
[10:40 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.