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Massive Winter Storm To Affect U.S., Over A Thousand Flights Canceled

A winter storm began to affect close to 100 million people on Wednesday as a a massive weather event traveled through much of the country, leading to flight cancellations and prompting state leaders to take action ahead of time.

NBC News reported that the major weather event is anticipated to have heavy amounts of snow, freezing rain, and affect travel in states around the nation, leading to emergency declarations, flights being called off, and schools closing.

The outlet noted: “[m]ore than 1,400 flights within, into and out of the United States were cancelled for Wednesday as of 9 a.m. ET, according to flight tracker FlightAware. A number of airlines, including AmericanUnited and Delta Air Lines issued waivers allowing travelers who may be affected by the storm to rebook their trips at no extra cost.”

Flight Aware reported as of 11:36a.m. EST: 

Total delays today: 3,144
Total delays within, into, or out of the United States today: 904
Total cancellations today: 2,794
Total cancellations within, into, or out of the United States today: 1,646

“This winter storm will bring a variety of winter weather hazards, including heavy snow, sleet, and freezing rain,” the National Weather Service said in a Wednesday update, per NBC. 

According to the service, the storm is expected to be “prolonged with several rounds of winter weather lasting through Thursday for portions of the central U.S. before shifting to the interior Northeast.”

The weather service also noted that “[l]ocations impacted by snow and or ice are expected to have temperatures remain below freezing and well below average for at least a couple of days after the wintry precipitation ends. The cold temperatures will be due to the emergence of arctic high pressure, which will descend over the Plains on Wednesday.”

It stated that the high pressure will direct “very frigid air down through the Plains between today and Friday,” adding that the high temperature for many areas across the Plains “will be between 15-25 degrees below average during this period.”

It added that the “eastern third of the country will warm up a bit out ahead of the cold front associated with the winter storm.” Temperatures will become less extreme when the cold front passes on Friday night.

There also might be high levels of rainfall in the warm areas of the storm system.  

Heavy snow is expected to fall in the “Southern Rockies and from the Southern/Central Plains and the Middle Mississippi Valley through the Great Lakes/Ohio Valley and Interior Northeast. A corridor of heavy ice (rain/freezing rain) accumulation is likely from Texas through the Ohio River Valley.” 

The NWS Weather Prediction Center tweeted about the storm on Wednesday morning:

As The New York Times reported, Illinois, Missouri, and Oklahoma governors announced emergency efforts on Tuesday before the storm came to the areas. 

“In Michigan, nine to 16 inches of snow was expected, through late Thursday night, the Weather Service announced,” the Times noted.

ABC News reported that “More than 1 foot of snow is expected from northern Missouri into Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan.”

NBC noted that as of early on Wednesday morning, around 4 inches of snow had already come to the Chicago area, with more expected to fall. 

“Overall, snowfall totals of 6 to 12 inches are possible for the Windy City, as well as in Kansas City, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Detroit, Cleveland, Buffalo and Burlington,” the outlet added. 

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