Chicago – A slow-moving winter storm blanketed a large swath of the Plains and Midwest in snow Sunday, forcing the cancellation of more than 1,000 Chicago flights, making roads treacherous and forcing some to rethink plans to attend Super Bowl parties.
Blizzard conditions developed in Chicago — where more than a foot was expected by evening — and other Midwest locales as the system slowly crept eastward into Pennsylvania and western New York state. Parts of New England still digging out from a storm early last week were bracing for yet another round of snow to arrive Sunday and last through Monday.
Here’s the outlook:
The snowstorm was expected to be the most far-reaching of the season to date, stretching from Nebraska to Maine, according to the National Weather Service.
Forecasters also said the storm was moving unusually slowly, meaning accumulations of between 10 to 14 inches of snow are possible for parts of northern Illinois, Indiana and northwest Ohio. Similar amounts of snow are expected for the Northeast later Sunday and throughout Monday.
“It’s not wise to travel, unless you have an emergency,” said David Beachler a National Weather Service meteorologist in Chicago.
Craig Owens, an English professor at Drake University, was one of the many Midwest residents who spent the morning shoveling their driveways.
“I’m not going to make it the gym anyway, so I’ve got to get a workout somehow,” said Owens, whose home in Des Moines, Iowa, got about 10 inches of snow.
More than 1,000 flights were canceled at both of Chicago’s airports and other flights were delayed. Chicago’s Department of Aviation said about 1,100 were canceled at O’Hare International Airport and 200 at Midway International Airport.
The Illinois Department of Transportation dispatched 350 trucks to clear and salt Chicago-area roadways through the evening and ahead of Monday’s morning rush hour.
SUPER BOWL PARTY SPOILER?
The most intense period of snow in the Midwest was expected to hit Sunday evening, right around game time, meaning the roads could be treacherous for those heading to Super Bowl parties. Potential wind gusts of up to 40 mph were expected, so drivers could face terrible visibility and snarling snow drifts.
Several of the Chicago’s areas top tourist attractions closed early Sunday because of the weather, including the Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium and Brookfield Zoo.
The city’s pizzerias, though, were expecting heavy demand for deliveries during the game. And bars hosting Super Bowl parties said they wouldn’t let the weather spoil their plans.
Kathi Kreger, manager at Brendan’s Pub, a Patriots’ bar on the city’s North Side, said locals would still trudge through the snow for the festivities.
“We’re used to this,” she said.
In the southeastern Wisconsin city of New Berlin, meanwhile, sports bar Matty’s Bar & Grill was preparing for a strong turnout, despite the weather.
“Here in Wisconsin, with the snow, we’re pretty used to it,” general manager Mark Lombardo said. “Lots of folks have the big four-wheel trucks. The snow doesn’t really slow them down.”
Parts of New England were still recovering Sunday from a blizzard early last week that buried the region in snow, including a record 34.5 inches that fell in Worcester, Massachusetts, where dump trucks and front-end loaders had to be brought in to move snow.
The Monday and Tuesday storm dumped two feet of snow on Boston 19 inches on Providence, Rhode Island. Another foot or so could spell particular trouble for snow-clearing operations in Boston’s narrow streets.
The weather service said that many parts of New England could get between 8 and 14 inches of snow and that parts of western Massachusetts and Connecticut could get as much as 16 inches.
A winter storm warning was in effect for New York City starting at 7 p.m. Sunday and was expected to remain in effect until 6 p.m. Monday.
SNOW PLOWS DESTROYED
The small town of Henniker, New Hampshire, will have to find a way to clear the snow without the majority of its plows. Nearly its entire fleet of snow-clearing equipment — five plows and a road grader — was destroyed in a fire on Friday night at a garage.
“This puts the town in a bad spot,” Henniker Fire Chief Steve Burritt told the Concord Monitor newspaper. “The town has a serious problem for snow removal. Not that there isn’t a solution, but it’s going to be a challenge.”
Investigators said the fire apparently originated in the engine of one of the dump trucks used as snow plows and spread. Officials estimate the damage could exceed $1 million.
The only heavy equipment spared — two pickup trucks and a front-end loader — was parked outside the garage. No injuries were reported.