Storm to pound Midwest as it moves east
COLUMBIA, Mo. — A massive winter storm took aim at a third of the nation yesterday, threatening to lay a potentially deadly path of heavy snow and ice from the Rockies to New England, followed by a wave of bone-rattling cold that could affect tens of millions of people.
St. Louis, Kansas City, and Milwaukee could be hardest hit, with expected midweek snowfalls of up to 2 feet and drifts piled 5 to 10 feet.
Even hardy Chicago could be in for its third-worst blizzard since record-keeping began.
Warmer areas were not safe, either. The system could spawn tornadoes in the South.
While record snowfalls have pounded the Northeast in one of that region’s most brutal winters, the Midwest has been comparatively unscathed, until now.
As the first flakes fell, transportation officials readied street-clearing equipment, and some airlines encouraged travelers to rebook flights leaving from Chicago.
In St. Louis and much of Missouri, residents braced for a particularly hazardous mix: up to an inch of ice, followed by 3 to 4 inches of sleet, then perhaps a half-foot of snow or more.
Farther south in Columbia, Mo., forecasters predicted between 12 inches and 16 inches of snow.
In Chicago, forecasters predicted 20 inches of snow. If that holds true, it would be the city’s third-biggest snowstorm, overshadowed only by the 21.6 inches in 1999 and the mother of all Chicago snowstorms, the 23 inches of snow that fell in 1967.