Major snowstorm hits Chicago, heads toward New England – Reuters

Posted: Monday, February 02, 2015

KANSAS CITY (Reuters) – A major winter storm swept through parts of the Midwest on Sunday, dumping more than a foot (30 cm) of snow in Chicago area before tracking toward New England, a region still reeling from a powerful blizzard that struck only days ago.

The fresh snowfall and strong winds complicated the plans of millions of Americans in the Midwest planning to travel to Super Bowl parties on Sunday evening. In Chicago’s two major airports, about 1,400 flights were canceled.

“Now we are worried about the winds, with blizzard warnings and near white-out conditions,” said Amy Seeley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Chicago. “It’s reducing visibilities and will cause problems for people traveling tonight.”

The storm path extends from eastern Nebraska and South Dakota to the Great Lakes states and into the northern reaches of New England, according to the National Weather Service, which forecast up to 18 inches (45 cm) of snow in the Chicago area.

Bitter cold weather is forecast to follow the snow across the country. In Grand Island, Nebraska, the temperature plunged to 7 Farenheit (-14 Celsius) by mid-afternoon on Sunday.

Winter storm warnings were posted from the Great Lakes states to New England through Monday. Northern and southern areas of the Midwest mostly escaped with light snow.

Cathy McDonagh, bar manager at Curragh Traditional Irish Pub in northwest Chicago, said the pub was open for Super Bowl watching, but the snow could put a damper on the festivities.

“Most people will have a house party, and judging from the weather we won’t get much of a crowd,” she added.

A half-foot (15 cm) of snow was forecast for Cleveland, Ohio, and even more could pile up in New York City and the Boston area, the National Weather Service said, with winds of up to 40 mph (65 kph).

Across the country, the storm was a factor in about 2,000 flight cancellations and 2,100 delays, largely in Chicago, according to the online site FlightStats.

‘COZY WARM’

Eight inches (20 cm) of snow in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, did not faze Jason Story, 36, who had plans to watch the big game at home with his family.

“We’re going to stay nice and cozy warm in the house and watch the game,” he said.

In Iowa, the storm forced the cancellation hundreds of church services as 3 to 10 inches (7-25 cm) of snow was falling across the state.

The storm followed a blizzard last week that pummeled parts of the East Coast, especially New England states, where up to three feet (90 cm) of snow piled up. New York City had prepared for a major storm but was spared the brunt.

In Massachussetts, the forecasted snow prompted officials to postpone proceedings scheduled for Monday in the murder trial of ex-New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez.

School closings were announced in several states for Monday, including many in Chicago and all public schools in Providence, Rhode Island.

Slippery and snowy roads were reported in numerous states and the Ohio Turnpike banned travel on Sunday for some traffic, such as vehicles with trailers. In South Dakota, a woman died on Saturday when her car slid off an icy road, the state Department of Public Safety said on Sunday.

(Reporting by Kevin Murphy in Kansas City. Additional reporting by Fiona Ortiz in Chicago, Kay Henderson in Des Moines and Todd Epp in Sioux Falls, S.D.; Editing by Andre Grenon and Frances Kerry)

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