Megastorm overhauls nine states
CHICAGO--The National Weather Service expanded blizzard warnings Tuesday for a large swathe of the Midwest as residents, accustomed to dealing with snow, sleet and ice, readied themselves for a monster winter storm that could be bigger than many cities in the nation's midsection have seen in years.
Parts of nine states, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio, were covered by the warning, TODAY's Al Roker reported.
As the storm began its trek, it brought a bit of everything: ice, sleet and snow, even tornadoes were possible. School districts, universities and legislatures closed; airlines canceled thousands of flights; and residents rushed to gather supplies, anticipating they might have to dig out or hunker down.
"I've never seen a prediction of what have you, rain, snow, ice, whatever, where people reacted so quickly to it," Jack Runyon, co-owner of Runyon Equipment Rental in Carmel, Ind., where customers snapped up all of the store's small emergency generators.
Cities including 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, with forecasts calling for up to 20 inches of snow in the city and waves whipping off Lake Michigan.
The system was also expected to cause disruption in the Northeast; hundreds of schools were closed in Pennsylvania and similar announcements were expected from the New York tri-state area and up through New England. (Source: MSNBC)
Story Date: February 1, 2011