- Several incidents are reported on major highways.
- Hundreds of flights are canceled.
- Texas officials say the power grid is ready.
Portions of major highways are closed, hundreds of flights are canceled, school is closed and residents are being asked to stay home as a major winter storm rolls through the Plains and the Midwest.
The storm, named Landon by The Weather Channel, is already bringing ice, snow and plunging temperatures to many regions, and is expected to affect a wide swath of the United States, from the Rocky Mountains to the southern plains to the northeast through Friday.
One state in particular – Texas – is keeping a close eye on the weather. Winter storms and freezing cold caused unprecedented power outages in the state last year. More than 240 deaths were linked to the winter weather there in February 2021.
(FOLLOWING: The latest forecast for winter storm Landon)
Landon is the fourth winter storm to cause travel delays and power outage issues in multiple states in the past three weeks alone. That’s not unusual at this time of year, though. Late January through February is the peak of the winter storm season.
Here’s a look at what’s happening as the storm’s impacts intensify. Be sure to check for updates frequently.
Many accidents in progress in Illinois
Area roads are affected, including a stretch of Interstate 55 in the central part of the state.
Missouri roads covered in snow and ice
Major roads through Missouri, including Interstates 70, 44 and 72, were covered in snow and ice around 1:45 p.m. CDT, according to the state Department of Transportation.
State of emergency declared in Kentucky
“If everything stays where it is right now, it’s the real deal“, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said during an afternoon press briefing. “It’s dangerous, people have to be prepared … and potentially be ready for this emergency for the next few days. days.”
The governor declared a state of emergency and activated some National Guard troops.
Areas at high risk for thick ice include Paducah and Louisville.
Dangerous travel conditions expected tonight in Texas
Texas Department of Transportation spokesman Tony Hartzel advised people to exercise caution when venturing onto the roads, even if things don’t look bad.
“If you don’t have to travel anytime from now or until tonight, don’t travel,” Hartzel told The Weather Channel. “We are looking at the major impacts that will start overnight and tomorrow morning, but some of these bridges will definitely freeze early and people may not be expecting that at this point.
The rain is expected to turn to freezing rain in areas like Dalls-Fort Worth. On Thursday, snow, sleet and freezing rain could persist as far south as central and northern Texas.
Some routes cannot be pretreated due to rain
While crews were out in force clearing roads in several states and trying to stay ahead of the weather, rain in some areas means roads can’t be pre-treated before snow arrives, ice and freezing temperatures.
Rain washes away the solution that crews use to help prevent icing.
Indiana officials, for example, warned that this could contribute to unsafe driving conditions. More than 50 National Guard teams have been deployed to help stranded motorists, the Associated Press reported. Residents have been asked to stay at home if possible.
“We have the resources to weather this storm. What we really need is cooperation,” Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb said at a press conference Wednesday. “Stay safe.
Power cuts increase
About 13,000 homes and businesses are without power in Illinois as of 12:40 p.m. CDT, according to PowerOutage.us. Most are scattered across the middle and southern parts of the state.
Drivers asked to avoid traveling in Missouri
“If you don’t have to travel, please stay off the roads as much as possible, leave room for crews to work,” City of St. Louis Emergency Management Commissioner Sarah Russell said at The Weather Channel Wednesday morning.
If you have to go out, says Russell, be prepared for delays and the possibility of being stranded. Have supplies such as snacks, water, blankets, salt, kitty litter, as well as a phone charger and a full tank of gas when you start your trip.
“We know this is a long lasting storm,” she said.
Dallas, dozens more school districts closing in Texas
Schools in central and northern Texas are announcing school closures for Thursday and, in some cases, Friday, as the effects of the storm intensify.
Districts that have already canceled classes according to local media include Dallas, Arlington, Denton, Fort Worth, Irving, Plano, Round Rock, Hays and Lake Travis
Deliveries may be delayed
At least one major shipping company is warning customers that delays are possible.
“FedEx weather and operations teams are closely monitoring winter storm Landon as it develops across the central United States,” FedEx said in an update posted to its website Wednesday. “The storm could create hazardous conditions for our team members and their safety remains our number one priority.
Contingency plans are in place and we will be prepared to provide the best possible service in areas affected by the winter storm and as local conditions permit. »
I-70 closed in Missouri
A portion of Interstate 70 is closed west of Columbia as of 11:45 a.m. CST, with road conditions described as “terrible” by emergency management officials, according to a tweet from the Kansas City office of the National Weather Service.
Truckers struggle to climb hills in the area and at least one tractor-trailer is jackknifed, according to the state Department of Transportation.
Treacherous trip to Illinois
Things are no better in central Illinois, where part of westbound I-74 in Piatt County is blocked by multiple portfolio tractor-trailers beginning at 11:45 a.m. CDT.
Traffic cameras early this morning showed dangerous conditions on I-80 in the Chicago area.
Flights canceled at major airports
More than 500 flights are canceled at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport as of noon CDT and hundreds more are delayed, according to airline tracking website FlightAware. More than 300 are canceled at St. Louis Lambert International, where Southwest Airlines is completely closed.
Other major cities reporting airport delays or cancellations include Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver, Detroit and Indianapolis.
Texas officials say the grid is ready
Large accumulations of ice and snow are possible, making power outages a major concern.
“With a quarter inch of ice there can be power outages and the roads will be messy,” weather.com meteorologist Ari Sarsalari said Tuesday. “When you go up about half an inch or more, that’s when you start to see a lot of tree branches falling, major power outages.”
The prospect of losing power is particularly troubling in parts of Texas, where just under a year ago an outbreak of record freezing weather and a trio of storms, particularly Winter Storm Uri, left million people without electricity or running water. , in some cases for several weeks.
This weather was unprecedented for Texas, with several consecutive days of below normal temperatures.
Winter Storm Landon will be none of that.
“The coldest air from this outbreak will only last a few days, at most, rather than the back-to-back siege of a solid week a year ago,” weather.com senior meteorologist Jonathan Erdman wrote in an article published on Monday. “While certainly a headache, we do not foresee a repeat of the multi-billion dollar disaster that was the February 2021 cold snap.”
Texas Department of State Health Services reported more than 246 deaths in the brutal winter weather that month, including people who froze to death in their own homes or succumbed to fires or carbon monoxide poisoning trying to stay warm.
(FOLLOWING: Landon Winter Storm Tracking Maps: Radar, Snow, Ice and Timing Forecast)
The power cuts have prompted outcry and reforms, including new laws on how power plants must prepare for winter and fines of up to $1,000,000 a day for those who don’t.
In January, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, known as ERCOT, released a report on inspections of 324 electrical installations. The agency, which manages the flow of electricity from generators to consumers, said all but three met the new wintering standards.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott assured residents on Tuesday that the network was up to snuff and said the highest demand was expected Friday morning.
“No one can guarantee there won’t be” blackouts, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said during a briefing in Austin. to stay statewide.
The primary journalistic mission of The Weather Company is to report on the latest weather news, the environment and the importance of science in our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.