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
Local

Video: Car crashes into Cambridge store, man arrested…

A Cambridge man was arrested on gun and drug charges after crashing his car into a Massachusetts Avenue storefront early Saturday morning.

Local

Body found believed to be missing Fitchburg boy…

The body of a child found off of a highway in Sterling last week is likely that of missing Fitchburg boy Jeremiah Oliver, authorities said.

Local

Memorial held for Sean Collier, MIT police officer…

More than 1,600 people gathered at MIT on Friday for a memorial service for Sean Collier, the police officer shot to death a year ago in the aftermath of the…

National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

Television

'Orphan Black' recap: Episode 1, ‘Nature Under Constraint…

Welcome to your first Season 2 “Orphan Black” recap! Hopefully Tatiana Maslany can help Tatiana Maslany get through this, with the help of Tatiana Maslany,…

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox defeat Orioles, 4-2

Brock Holt the difference in the Red Sox' win

NHL

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump…

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump Bruins in Game 1

MLB

MLB video highlights: Orioles top Red Sox, 8-4…

John Lackey roughed up for second straight outing

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox

Parenting

How to parent without gender stereotypes in a…

Christia Spears Brown, Phd. author of "Parenting beyond Pink & Blue" gives advice on raising kids free of gender stereotypes.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.