Nov 27, 2019 3:24 PM

The Latest: Heavy winds, snow disrupt Nebraska, Iowa travel

Posted Nov 27, 2019 3:24 PM

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — The Latest on the pre-Thanksgiving wintry storm (all times local):


9 a.m.


Strong winds are whipping up snow and hampering travelers in Nebraska and Iowa.


The storm system that wreaked havoc as it raced through Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska remains over much of Iowa. The National Weather Service says gusts could approach 60 mph (96.6 kph) as the storm heads northeast. A gust of 53 mph (85.3 kph) was reported Wednesday morning in Davenport.


The Iowa Transportation Department says several highways are packed with snow, but none are closed.


The National Weather Service says little new snowfall is expected over Iowa, where 8.3 inches (21.1 centimeters) was reported a mile west of Spirit Lake.


Far western Nebraska is shoveling out from higher amounts. Nearly a foot (30.5 centimeters) has been reported southeast of Lyman, with drifts up to 16 inches (40.6 centimeters) deep.


Several Nebraska highways and county roads are covered with snow as well, but no weather-related closures are reported.


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7:30 a.m.


Blowing snow is making travel difficult in southern South Dakota where about two dozen school districts have canceled classes.


A South Dakota Department of Transportation map shows many roads from as far north as Watertown, south to Sioux City, west to Winner and east to Worthington are snow- or ice-covered.


The National Weather Service says Dell Rapids received around 6 inches of snow while many areas around Sioux Falls had around 4 inches. Areas around Mitchell had 2 to 4 inches of snow.


A winter storm warning was set to expire Wednesday morning.


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7:05 a.m.


Numerous roads in northwest and north-central Kansas are partially or completely snow covered after a storm dumped more than 5 inches (12.7 centimeters) of snow across the region.


A stretch of Interstate 70 near the state’s western border with Colorado was open again Wednesday after temporarily closing Tuesday at the height of the storm. Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Tod Hileman urged drivers in a tweet to “Stay put,” adding that it “doesn’t look like fun!” Many travelers took the advice, filling hotels in the area.


The National Weather Service says some of the heaviest accumulations were in Goodland, where 7.5 inches (19.05 centimeters) fell, and north of the small village of McDonald, where 9.5 inches (24.13 centimeters) was on the ground.


The storm also wreaked havoc in other states, including Wyoming and Nebraska.


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6:55 a.m.


Numerous schools canceled classes in northern and western Wisconsin as heavy snow and high wind caused deteriorating travel conditions.


The National Weather Service posted a winter storm warning from just north of La Crosse to northeast Wisconsin. In far northern areas of the state, including Bayfield, Ashland and Iron counties, snowfall totals could reach as high as 20 inches (508 millimeters). Elsewhere, 6 inches (152 millimeters) to 10 inches (254 millimeters) of snow was expected in northwestern Wisconsin.


A Wisconsin Department of Transportation map shows roads and highways snow covered and slippery throughout the northern half of the state.


School districts from Mosinee to Viroqua were among those taking the day off Wednesday.


The storm brought rain and thunder to southern Wisconsin where the temperature was 50 degrees in Milwaukee Wednesday morning.


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6:05 a.m.


Blinding snow is falling fast in southern Minnesota, where 12 inches (304 millimeters) or more is expected to accumulate during a busy holiday travel period.


Officials warned residents to stay off the roads until the accompanying high winds die down. By early Wednesday, 8.7 inches (221 millimeters) of snow was already on the ground in Prior Lake, 7.8 inches (198 millimeters) at St. Paul and 7.5 inches (190.5 millimeters) in Eagan.


At Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, crews worked overnight to clear runways ahead of the busiest travel day before Thanksgiving. About 20 flights were delayed or canceled Wednesday morning.


Many school districts and universities, including St. Paul Public Schools, the University of Minnesota and University of St. Thomas canceled Wednesday classes as travel conditions deteriorated.


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11:35 p.m.


A storm packing heavy snow and high winds that wreaked havoc as it whipped through Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska is marching into the upper Midwest as anxious Thanksgiving travelers brace for a busy, if not perilous, holiday week.


The wintry storm that left at least one person dead was expected to push eastward into South Dakota, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin on Wednesday, while a “bomb cyclone” weather phenomenon was expected to simultaneously topple trees, knock out power and dump snow as it rolled into California and Oregon.


The one-two punch made for a double whammy of early wintry weather that threatened to scramble plans for millions of people nationwide during one of the busiest travel weeks of the year.

Continue Reading Panhandle Post
Nov 27, 2019 3:24 PM
One-two punch of storms threatens Thanksgiving travel in US

DENVER (AP) — Heavy snow and wind shut down highways Tuesday in Colorado and Wyoming, closed schools in Nebraska and forced more than 1,000 travelers to sleep overnight in Denver’s airport after hundreds of flights were canceled just as Thanksgiving travel moved into high gear.


The storm was heading to South Dakota, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, while a “bomb cyclone” weather phenomenon began toppling trees, knocking out power and dumping snow as it barreled into California and Oregon — making for a double whammy of early wintry weather.


Authorities on both sides of the California-Oregon border reported numerous crashes and closed roads. The National Weather Service urged people to wait to travel for the holiday until the weather improves.


At Denver International Airport, about 10 inches (25 centimeters) of snow mixed with winds that limited visibility prompted the cancellation of about 30 percent of the airport’s average daily 1,600 flights.


The storm dumped nearly 3 feet (1 meter) of snow in parts of northern Colorado and closed long stretches of highways there and in Wyoming. One person was killed, and two others were injured when a tractor-trailer jackknifed and was hit by two other trucks on Interstate 70 near the Colorado ski town of Vail.


The system moved east, allowing the Denver airport to begin returning to normal.


Southwest Airlines canceled about 200 flights. Spokesman Brad Hawkins said it would take "a couple of days" to get stranded passengers on other flights because there are few during the pre-Thanksgiving travel crush. That makes it hard for airlines to rebook passengers.


About 1,100 people spent the night at the airport, including many cadets from the Air Force Academy near Colorado Springs who either missed flights or wanted to get to the airport before road conditions deteriorated, airport spokeswoman Alex Renteria said.


Among them was cadet Sadie Luhman, whose trip to the airport took three hours — twice the normal driving time. She got to the airport at 1 a.m., 10 hours before her scheduled flight to Chicago for Thanksgiving.


“I just wanted to beat the storm. We kind of left in the middle of it so it kind of didn’t work, but we got here,” she told Denver news station KCNC-TV.


Airport workers handed out blankets, diapers, baby formula, toothbrushes and toothpaste to passengers who camped out on floors and in chairs.


Many government offices closed in the Denver area and Cheyenne, Wyoming, along with colleges and schools not already on holiday break. In Nebraska, several school districts canceled classes Wednesday, and the southwestern city of Sidney had received about 8 inches (20 centimeters) of snow.


The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, campus has canceled classes starting late Tuesday.


It wasn’t a snow day for everybody. Carli Webber cleared snow off her car and braced herself for her commute to a call center near Denver’s Union Station.


“I am not like a lot of people and cannot work from home, so I have no choice but to go,” she said.


Blizzard and wintry weather warnings extended into the Great Lakes states with the storm bringing high winds and snow to Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin later Tuesday and a chance of snow over the weekend for parts of New England, said Alex Lamers, a National Weather Service meteorologist.


“That could be a coast-to-coast storm,” he said.


The storm is expected to dump snow on the airport in Minneapolis, where Delta Air Lines is the major carrier, but most is expected to fall overnight when few flights are scheduled.


Delta prepared by filling de-icing tanks, calling in extra flight dispatchers and operations employees, and having some of its 20 in-house meteorologists focus on the Minneapolis forecast.


"The timing is very helpful," said Erik Snell, a Delta senior vice president who oversees operations. "It gives the airport time to clear the runways, although we'll have to watch the residual snowfall in the morning."


The storm system could mean disappointment for fans of the larger-than-life balloons flown at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York.


Organizers were preparing for the possibility of grounding the iconic balloon characters because of 40-50 mph (64-81 kph) gusts in the forecast. Rules put in place after several people were injured by a balloon years ago require lower altitudes or full removal if sustained winds exceed 23 mph (37 kph) and gusts exceed 34 mph (54 kph). The decision will be made on parade day.


The second storm began hitting the West Coast of the U.S., bringing snow to the mountains and wind and rain along the coasts of California and Oregon.


Multiple roads were closed in southern Oregon due to downed trees, power lines and blizzard-like driving conditions and others were reduced to a single lane, the Oregon Department of Transportation said.


The bomb cyclone — a rapid drop in air pressure — could bring waves of up to 35 feet (11 meters), wind gusts of up to 75 mph (120 kph) and heavy snow in the mountains.


Snow temporarily shut down part of Interstate 80 north of Lake Tahoe, near the Nevada-California line.


Angela Smith said the Oceanfront Lodge, a hotel she manages in Crescent City, in far Northern California, lost power briefly during rain and strong winds. She said the hotel is ready to withstand heavy downpours.


“It’s blowing pretty good outside but because we’re right on the coast, everything was built to ensure the safety of people,” Smith said.


Forecasters warned of “difficult to impossible travel conditions” across much of northern Arizona later this week as that storm dumps about 2 feet (61 centimeters) of snow. The approaching storm accelerated the annual winter closure of the highway leading to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon by five days.