Midwest storm expected to bring more than foot of snow

Midwest storm expected to bring more than foot of snow

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

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NEBRASKA, United States (AP) — A major winter storm was yesterday expected to blanket a large swath of the middle of the country with snow and disrupt travel, as more than a foot of snow was anticipated in some areas.

The Midwest snowfall was forecast to stretch from central Kansas, north-east to Chicago and to southern Michigan throughout the day, with some of the heaviest snow expected in south-east Nebraska and western Iowa. Much of the rest of the area will receive at least 4 inches (10 centimetres) of snow.

National Weather Service meteorologist Taylor Nicolaisen said 10 to 15 inches (25 to 38 centimeters) of snow was likely between Lincoln, Nebraska and Des Moines, Iowa, noting that it has been 15-20 years since most of that area received more than a foot of snow from a single storm.

“This is a historic snow,” said Nicolaisen, who is based near Omaha, Nebraska. “It has been a long time since we have seen somebody get a foot of snow in one storm. And we're very confident that some people will see a foot of snow.”

Officials urged drivers to stay off the roads during the storm, especially in the afternoon and evening when the heaviest snow was expected. By midday yesterday, Nebraska State Patrol troopers had helped at least 60 drivers who got stuck or slid off the road.

“Do not travel unless it's absolutely necessary,” said Nebraska State Patrol Col John Bolduc.

Several coronavirus testing sites in Nebraska and Iowa planned to close early on Monday because of the snow.

Elsewhere in the US, a storm moving across the south-west was forecast to bring gusty winds and snowfall by today, the weather service said. Over the weekend, more than a foot of snow fell in Southern California's mountains ahead of what was predicted to be a stronger storm.

Authorities urged drivers on Sunday to bring their tyre chains to the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains east of Los Angeles, after 10 inches of snow fell in Mount Baldy and up to 18 inches (46 centimetres) were recorded at Mountain High ski resort in Wrightwood.

It was a dramatic shift from a week ago when parts of the Southern California region saw temperatures soar to the 90s. On Sunday, highs were in the 50s.

The California Highway Patrol closed Interstate five to traffic yesterday in the Tejon Pass, which rises to an elevation of more than 4,100 feet (1,250 meters) through mountains between Los Angeles and the San Joaquin Valley.

Across southern Nevada, light rain and snow at higher elevations were reported yesterday.

Forecasters at the Sacramento area National Weather Service office predict an abundance of snow in Sierra Nevada between late today and Friday which may make travel through the mountains difficult.

Flash flood watches were in effect for areas north and south of San Francisco Bay, where the National Weather Service cited “high confidence that thresholds for debris flows will be met” owing to many of last year's wildfire burn scars.

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