CHICAGO (AP) — A major winter storm with millions of Americans in its path brought a mix of rain, freezing rain and snow to the middle section of the United States on Wednesday as airlines canceled hundreds of flights, governors urged residents to stay off roads and schools closed campuses.
The blast of frigid weather, which began arriving Tuesday night, put a long stretch of states from New Mexico and Colorado to Maine under winter storm warnings and watches. On Wednesday morning, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan saw freezing rain, sleet and snow.
The storm had already dropped heavy snow over much of Kansas and parts of Missouri by early Wednesday, with weather forecasters warning that the snow was only expected to intensify throughout the day. More than a foot of snow was expected in parts of central Missouri and Michigan, and up to a foot of snow could fall Wednesday and Thursday in central and northeastern Illinois. Twelve to 18 inches (30 to 45 centimeters) of snow is possible in areas of northern Indiana, said Andrew Orrison, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in College Park, Maryland.
“For a lot of areas, we are going to be looking at significant amounts of snowfall and also ice,” he said.
In northwest Indiana, heavy snow Wednesday morning was creating hazardous travel conditions, particularly on highway ramps, Indiana State Police Sgt. Glen Fifield told WFLD-TV. He urged residents not to travel if they don’t have to.