Flights canceled, roads treacherous amid snowstorms
MINNEAPOLIS — A storm system stretching from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes has buffeted the central U.S. with heavy snow, winds, rain and hail, forcing flight cancellations, creating treacherous road conditions and killing at least three people, including a sleeping 2-yearold Louisiana girl.
In the Upper Midwest, the early spring storm brought heavy snow to a region pining for sunshine and warmth. All flights were grounded for about eight hours at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport as a blizzard made it difficult to keep runways clear and planes deiced, resulting in nearly 470 canceled flights. Blizzard conditions forced the airport in South Dakota’s biggest city, Sioux Falls, to remain closed for a second straight day.
The Minnesota Twins home game against the Chicago White Sox was snowed out Saturday, marking the first backto-back postponements of baseball games in the stadium’s nine seasons. Sunday’s game was also called off because of the storm, which by Saturday night had buried Minneapolis under more than 13 inches of snow (33 centimeters). The Yankees and Tigers were rained out Saturday in Detroit.
Authorities closed several highways in southwestern Minnesota, where no travel was advised, and driving conditions were difficult across the southern half of the state. The National Weather Service predicted that a large swath of southern Minnesota, including Minneapolis and St. Paul, could get up to 20 inches of snow (51 centimeters) by the time the storm blows through on Sunday.
“It’s a cool experience for me, the best Minneapolis experience,” Niko Heiligman, of Aachen, Germany, said as he braved the snow Saturday to take a walk along the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis. “I’m only here for the weekend, so I guess that’s how it goes. There’s snow and it’s cold. So it’s good.”
The storm is expected to persist through Sunday in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan before moving into New York state and New England.
Up to 18 inches (46 centimeters) of snow had fallen by early Saturday in parts of northern Wisconsin, with another 14 inches (36 centimeters) expected by Sunday evening. Winds of up to 55 mph (88.5 kph) caused blowing and drifting snow, along with ice shoves in Green Bay.
The National Weather Service also warned of potential coastal flooding along Lake Michigan in Wisconsin and Illinois, where Chicago residents were warned that waves could reach as high as 18 feet (5.5 meters).