Winter storm bears down on Midwest after dumping snow on Rockies

A snowman sits in Millennium Park, on a winter afternoon in Chicago, Illinois in January of 2012.

A major U.S. winter storm, which started Tuesday in the Rocky Mountains, could dump more than a foot of snow in some areas of the central Plains late Wednesday, the National Weather Service said.

“It has evolved into a full-fledged blizzard around the Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas border area,” said Alex Sosnowski, meteorologist for Accuweather.com. “It’s a pretty nasty storm.”

The storm marks a major change from the mild December so far in most of the nation. Many parts of the country could see a White Christmas. More storms are expected in the middle of next week.

Winds as high as 66 miles per hour (106 km per hour) were blowing dust and sand in western Texas, causing a string of traffic accidents along Interstate 27 north of Lubbock on Wednesday afternoon. More than 20 cars were involved in accidents that killed one person and injured 17 others along a 5-mile (8-km) stretch of road.

Corporal John Gonzalez, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said the fatality involved a semi-trailer crashing with a sports utility vehicle, killing the person in the SUV.

The injuries to the other 17 people were minor to moderate, he said.

“You could hear them in the dirt” crashing, Gonzalez said. “But you couldn’t see them. You couldn’t see nothing out there. Couldn’t see the front hood of your vehicle.”

In western Nebraska, the State Patrol closed a 146-mile portion of Interstate 80 between Kearney and Ogallala Wednesday evening because blowing snow reduced visibility and caused treacherous driving conditions.

The patrol said extremely dangerous weather conditions were forecast through the overnight hours across a good portion of the state, and travel was not recommended.

WHITE CHRISTMAS?

In Colorado, Interstate 70 was closed east of Denver to the Kansas state line due to high winds blowing snow into drifts and reducing visibility, said Mindy Crane, spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Several other roads in eastern Colorado were closed because of the blizzard conditions, she said.

Crane said a stretch of Interstate 70 in the mountains near the ski resort of Vail was closed temporarily on Wednesday so crews could do work to prevent avalanches.

Blizzard warnings have been issued Wednesday in parts of Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, meteorologists said.

The heaviest snow is falling at a rate of up to an inch per hour in parts of Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado. The worst of the blizzard is expected to hit communities from Omaha, Nebraska, to Green Bay, Wisconsin, Wednesday night into late Thursday, according to Accuweather.com.

In Chicago, the storm is expected to begin as rain and later change to snow Thursday, Sosnowski said.

Heavy snow and high winds were expected anywhere from the central plains into the Midwest/Great Lakes regions through much of the day Thursday, the National Weather Service said. Hazardous travel conditions were expected through Thursday and into early Friday.

Moisture off the Gulf of Mexico is expected to cause rain in the lower Mississippi River Valley Thursday, pushing east into the southeastern states Friday.

In the West, a system along the Pacific coast will bring scattered snow and rain showers into the northwestern states, according to the weather service. Over a foot of snow is expected in the higher elevations of the Washington Cascades and upper Rockies.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

International

North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 29,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on August 29, 31 and 31. Several streets and avenues will be…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…