Storm socks Midwest, cancels flights, closes roads

A car with a tree on top travels on a snow-covered road on Sunday in Traverse City.  

A powerful winter storm roared across the upper Midwest on Sunday with high winds and mounds of snow closing roads in several states and cancelling more than 1,400 flights in Chicago.

At least four weather-related deaths were reported Sunday as the storm system that dumped nearly 2 feet (60 centimetres) of snow in parts of Minnesota and caused the Metrodome’s inflatable, Teflon roof to collapse moved east. The Minnesota Vikings-New York Giants game was pushed to Monday night at Detroit’s Ford Field.

A blizzard warning was in effect Sunday for parts of eastern Iowa, southeastern Wisconsin, northwestern Illinois and northern Michigan, according to the National Weather Service. Surrounding areas, including Chicago, were under winter storm warnings. Much of Iowa was under a wind-chill advisory.

The winter weather, with blowing snow that severely limited visibility, wreaked havoc on air and road travel. In the Chicago area, wind gusts of up to 50 mph (80 kph), temperatures in the teens Fahrenheit (minus 11 to minus 7 Celsius), wind chills well below zero F (minus 18 C) were expected along with up to 8 inches (20 centimetres) of snow.

More than 1,200 flights were cancelled at O’Hare International Airport and more than 250 were cancelled at Midway International Airport, Chicago Department of Aviation spokeswoman Karen Pride said. Both airports expected more cancellations and reported significant delays.

Major highways in several states were closed due to poor driving conditions and accidents.

Illinois State Police closed a section of Interstate 80 in the north central part of the state Sunday after a multiple-car pileup west of Peru. An injury report wasn’t immediately available.

Seven vehicles crashed on Interstate 94 west of Milwaukee, prompting authorities to close the westbound lanes. A vehicle lost control on an ice-covered road and slammed into a tree in south-eastern Wisconsin, killing 21-year-old Alejandria Abaunza of Chicago and injuring two other people inside.

In western Wisconsin, a 79-year-old man snow-blowing the end of his driveway was killed when a plow truck backed into him. The St. Croix County Sheriff’s Department said Clifford Larson of Woodville died at the scene.

In Minnesota, Interstate 90 from Albert Lea to the border with South Dakota reopened Sunday afternoon after being closed Saturday because blowing snow reduced visibility. Minnesota state highways also reopened, although transportation officials warned that many were still snow-compacted, icy and, in numerous cases, down to a single lane.

In Iowa, Interstate 29 from the state line to Sioux Falls, South Dakota remained closed, although other portions of it and Interstate 80 reopened.

Although roads were open in Wisconsin, state officials urged drivers to stay home because blowing snow severely limited visibility.

The storm had already dropped up to 18 inches (46 centimetres) of snow in parts of northern and central Wisconsin, he said, and light snow continued Sunday.

Six people were injured Saturday when a van carrying 13 people hit a guardrail and overturned near Stanwood, Michigan, in the north-central Lower Peninsula. Authorities said Sunday that weather played a role in the death of Douglas Munneke, 55, of St. Cloud, Minnesota. He died of a heart attack after collapsing while he was snow-blowing his driveway Saturday.

In Indianapolis, police said a man fatally stabbed his wife, then died four blocks from his home Sunday morning when his vehicle hit a tree after he lost control on a slippery road. Police did not immediately release the names of the couple.

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Printable version | Dec 1, 2021 8:42:08 PM |

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