A major winter storm that blanketed most of the Midwest with snow earlier in the weekend barreled toward New England Sunday, where it was expected to cause transportation havoc ranging from slick and clogged roads to hundreds of cancelled airline flights.
The National Weather Service issued winter storm warnings or advisories for part or all of at least 15 states stretching from southeast Missouri to the northern tip of Maine.
The storm was caused by the clash of an Arctic high pressure system with a low pressure system coming through the Ohio Valley, said NWS Baltimore-Washington, D.C. meteorologist Dan Hofmann.
“It happens that this one is going through a relatively high population area,” Hofmann said.
Earlier, the system dumped up to 10 inches of snow on parts of the Midwest Saturday, with more on the way Sunday from lake-effect snow off the Great Lakes.
A plane carrying 129 people skidded from a slick runway at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport Saturday. No injuries were reported on the United Airlines flight as it arrived from Phoenix, Chicago Fire officials said..
In Kansas, a snowplow driver was killed when the plow drove onto the shoulder of a road and rolled over, throwing him under the vehicle. It wasn’t clear why the driver had moved to the shoulder from the roadway.
A 15-vehicle crash on slippery roads blocked a section of Interstate 55 in southeastern Missouri near Ste. Genevieve Saturday afternoon and drivers were urged to find an alternative route. In Detroit, many motorists were moving well below posted speed limits along freeways due to slushy conditions. Amtrak canceled some trains Saturday from Chicago to Washington and New York and between New York and Boston and Pennsylvania on Sunday.
Hundreds of flights were cancelled in and out of Chicago area airports on Saturday and as the storm moved east airlines were cancelling flights to the east coast. FlightAware said late Saturday that airlines had cancelled 250 flights that were supposed to leave Sunday from Boston’s Logan International Airport. Dozens of Sunday flights were also cancelled from New York’s John F. Kennedy International, Reagan National in Washington and Newark Liberty International in New Jersey.
Some Midwest residents didn’t let winter weather keep them from going outside.
In downtown Detroit, Celeste Tremmel was out training for a marathon amid heavy and steady snowfall.
“When you run a marathon, you run no matter the weather,” said Tremmel, who plans to run a March marathon in South Carolina.
Running in snow is “like running in sand, so you go a lot slower and it’s a lot more work,” she said. “I’m really tired … but 40 degrees, wind and hail is worse.”
As the storm system moves east, the frigid Arctic air behind it was expected to envelop many parts of the Midwest where it had just snowed.
“The air that it is bringing down with it is very, very cold,” Hofmann said.
In Iowa, temperatures in the teens Saturday had dropped to zero (-17 Celsius) or below by late Saturday, producing wind chills as low as 20-below (-29 Celsius) by Sunday morning.