A large and dangerous winter storm bore down Saturday morning on millions of people in the Midwest, leaving at least one man dead before plotting a course for the Northeast. Heavy snow and strong winds blew across the Dakotas, Iowa and parts of Minnesota as the system moved eastward.
Crews worked through the night to clear roads from Minnesota to Illinois that were blanketed with 4 to 7 inches of snow.
The storm forced the FAA to halt all flights in and out of Chicago's O'Hare International Airport for several hours on Friday, and by Saturday morning, 26 states were under weather alerts, according to meteorologist Jeff Berardelli. "It's going to be a little bit of a mess for the next 24 hours," he warned.
The one death blamed on the storm as of midday on Saturday was due to a highway crash in Nebraska.
Parts of Northeast could get a foot of snow
Snow was falling from Buffalo to New York City on Saturday afternoon as the storm tracked across the state.
Parts of northern New York directly east of Lake Ontario were forecast to get up to a foot of snow by Monday morning, as were some towns near Lake Erie, south of Buffalo, according to the National Weather Service.
Forecasters say the New York City area could end up with several inches of snow. Areas north in the Hudson Valley could get 6 inches of snow.
- Associated Press
More than 270 flights cancelled at Chicago airports
The Chicago Department of Aviation reported about 245 cancellations at O'Hare and another 30 at Midway airport by lunchtime on Saturday, out of nearly 2,000 total flights. Some flights were also being delayed because of the weather.
One dead in two-vehicle crash in Nebraska
A 57-year-old man was killed Friday in a two-vehicle crash near Hershey, Nebraska, according to authorities. They said the crash was one of over 200 "weather-related incidents" that troopers responded to that day.
Authorities said a pickup driven by Michael Krough crossed a median and hit a semi. He was pronounced deceased at the scene, and the other driver wasn't injured.
Nebraska State Patrol "continues to urge caution as temperatures are expected to stay near or below freezing for the next several days around much of the state," said a news release Saturday. "With the potential for refreezing on roadways, it is critical that motorists practice safe winter driving and never drive faster than conditions allow."
In Minnesota, high winds will be a bigger threat than snow
CBS Minnesota's director of meteorology says there might be an additional half-inch of snow for parts of the state before noon Saturday, but the bigger threat will be high winds.
Winds have already started kicking up on the western side of the state, with gusts in excess of 40 miles per hour measured in Worthington and Marshall, CBS Minnesota reports. Those winds will sweep eastward toward the rest of the state on Saturday.
Temperatures are also expected to drop starting mid-morning. By the dinner hour, temperatures will be in the single digits. Factoring in winds, it could feel significantly colder than that.
Blowing snow will be a problem all day Saturday, according to Augustyniak, which is why much of the western edge of the state, along with the south central swath, remain under a blizzard warning for the time being. The rest of the state is under a winter storm warning until 6 p.m.
In the metro area, snow totals hovered in the neighborhood of 5 to 6 inches. Some areas in the Arrowhead region of the state could still see another inch or two on Saturday.
Some states in southern New England could get up to 6 inches of snow
In southern New England, the storm could bring the first significant snowfall of the year, with up to half a foot expected in many areas of Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
Parts of New York state could get up to a foot of snow.
–The Associated Press
Ice, heavy snow and blizzard conditions expected
The National Weather Service said early Saturday the "sprawling" winter storm is expected to continue producing blizzard conditions in the eastern Dakotas, northern Iowa, and western and southern Minnesota.
"Areas of moderate to heavy snow are expected over much of the Upper Midwest, Great Lakes, and Northeast," it said. "To the south of the snow, a wintry mix including some ice accumulations, will impact portions of the northern Mid-Atlantic with slick travel."
The weather service said the storm will move into the Great Lakes on Saturday, then into northern New York state and New England on Sunday.
It will "produce a widespread foot print of heavy snows from the Upper Mississippi Valley, across the Great Lakes, northern NY State into central to northern New England with snow totals in the 6-12"+ range possible," it said.
Minnesota State Patrol reports 171 crashes between 5 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. Friday
The Minnesota State Patrol reported 171 crashes statewide between 5 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. Friday, CBS Minnesota reports. Of those, 20 involved injuries, but none were fatal.
Additionally, 166 vehicles spun out or went off the road, and there were six jackknifed semi-trucks.
The snow storm entered the southwestern corner of Minnesota mid-morning on Friday, with snowfall rates of about an inch and hour. The flakes had slowed down in the Twin Cities metro area by nightfall, but CBS Minnesota meteorologist Chris Shaffer said there is still more left to the winter system.
The state is expecting heavy snow and powerful winds that will make travel hazardous across the state this weekend.
All flights in and out of Chicago's O'Hare Airport halted Friday night
The Federal Aviation Administration halted all flights in and out of Chicago's O'Hare Airport for hours Friday night due to a sprawling winter storm, which forced the closure of schools, universities and government offices as it moved across large sections of the Midwest.
The FAA lifted the stop at 9:45 p.m., but by then hundreds of flights already were canceled Friday at at one of the nation's busiest airports.
At 9 p.m., the Chicago Department of Aviation was reporting nearly 690 flights had been canceled at O'Hare, with 169 flights cancelled at Midway, the city's other international airport. A winter weather advisory was issued for the Chicago area through early Saturday, with 2 to 5 inches of snow expected.
"If there is travel you don't need to make, consider postponing it,'' said meteorologist Ricky Castro.
–The Associated Press