Major winter storm stretching from Rockies to Midwest

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The Central US prepares for a snow day as nearly 1,500 flights are canceled and Chicago braces for up to 10 inches of snow. 

Nearly 90million people were placed under winter storm alerts across 2,000 miles of the US from the Rockies to New England. The Central US, especially the Rockies and the Midwest brace for a severe impact of heavy snow, freezing rain, and icy road conditions. 

The blast of frigid weather began arriving Tuesday night, as Denver and Chicago started to see the snowfall late last night into the morning. Chicago is expected to experience 1 to 1.5 inches of snow an hour, according to the National Weather Service Chicago, and could reach up to 10 inches of snow in the city and up to 20 inches in Central Illinois. 

Chicago has already up to 4.4 inches, while Chicago's main airport O'Hare has already accumulated 1.5 inches. Governor JB Pritzker warned the state could experience whiteout and blizzard-like conditions.

Commuters are already navigating snowy road conditions in the early morning with highways backing up and locals bundling up against the cold. 

The Upper Ohio Valley is under a winter storm watch and could see up to 12 inches in some areas north of I-80. The southern parts of Ohio is expected to see freezing rain. 

Meanwhile, the Rockies could see up to 15 inches of snow, with temperatures dropping below zero on Wednesday night. With the wind chill, some parts of Colorado could see temperatures drop as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Nearly 90million people are under winter storm alerts across 2,000 miles of the US. The Central US is bracing for the heaviest impact with the Rockies and Midwest preparing for up to 20 inches of snow, icy road conditions, and strong winds

A Chicagoan bundles up against cold weather as the Windy City gets its first snowfall of the storm that is expected to dump 10 inches of snow on the city 

A Chicago man shovels a parking spot out as the Windy City is expected to get 1 to 1.5 inches an hour 

Another man shovels the sidewalk as the wind blows the snow around on the freezing Chicago morning

Chicago commuters are already navigating snowy road conditions and locals have began bundling up against the cold

Two pedestrians wait for a bus on Dr. Martin Luther King Drive in Chicago on Wednesday in the early morning. Illinois Governor JB Pritzker warned the state could experience whiteout and blizzard-like conditions 

New Mexico and Colorado to Maine under winter storm warnings and watches. On Wednesday morning, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan saw freezing rain, sleet and snow.

More than a foot of snow was possible in parts of Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Michigan by the time the storm moves through, on the heels of a vicious nor'easter last weekend that brought blizzard conditions to many parts of the East Coast.

'It will be a very messy system and will make travel very difficult,' said Marty Rausch, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in College Park, Maryland.

The National Weather Service Prediction Center warned Texas through the Ohio Valley could see a 'heavy ice accumulation.' 

'A corridor of heavy ice accumulation (exceeding a quarter of an inch) is likely from Texas through the Ohio Valley,' the National Weather Service Prediction Center said on Wednesday.  'Locations impacted by snow and/or ice are expected to have temperatures remain below freezing, and well below average for at least a couple of days after the wintry precipitation ends.' 

Denver has already started prepping for the snow by pretreating the roads. Denver could get up to 15 inches of snow across the next few days 

A Denver train line traversing the snowy rails as the city preps for difficult travel conditions  

Early morning snow sparkled next to the Chicago Tribune in the early hours on Wednesday. Some parts of the city have already reached 4.4 inches 

Chicago commuters carefully navigated the snow roads. Many traveling will face rough conditions and flight cancellations as nearly 3,000 flights have been canceled for Wednesday and Thursday, with St. Louis, Chicago, and Dallas coming in up top 

In an effort to stay ahead of the weather, Southwest Airlines announced Tuesday that it would suspend all of its flight operations Wednesday at St. Louis Lambert International Airport and Thursday at its Dallas Love Field hub. Airports in Chicago, Kansas City and Detroit canceled more flights than usual.

American, United, and Delta Airlines have issued waivers for passengers who may be affected by the storm to allow them to rebook at no extra cost, according to NBC News.  

'Around the country, we're planning to operate a limited or reduced schedule from some cities in the path of the storm but will make adjustments to the schedule as needed,' Southwest spokesman Dan Landson said.

Missouri Governor Mike Parson declared a state of emergency as school districts and universities shifted classes to online or canceled them entirely.

Jackson, Michigan, has also started to see snowfall as local authorities continue to warn millions of Americans to avoid travel

Chicagoans face strong winds could bring whiteout conditions to many as they wait for a train at a Roosevelt Road station 

Illinois lawmakers canceled their three scheduled days of session this week as the central part of the state prepares for heavy snow, ice and high wind gusts in the region. In Oklahoma, Gov. Kevin Stitt has declared a statewide state of emergency as the winter storm approached that would remain in effect for seven days. 

The National Weather Service said 6 to 12 inches of snow was expected by Thursday morning in parts of the Rockies and Midwest, while heavy ice is likely from Texas through the Ohio Valley.

On Wednesday and Thursday, the weather service said 8 to 15 inches of snow was possible in parts of Michigan. That includes Detroit, where the mayor activated snow emergency routes and city crews were expected to work 12-hour shifts salting and plowing major roads.

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, where up to 7 inches of snow and sleet was forecast but little ice, emergency management director Joe Kralicek said the event is not expected to cause large-scale power outages based on an ice index used by the National Weather Service.

'We could see some power outages, however, it's also suggesting that they be limited in scope and nature and very short term in duration,' Kralicek said.

Becky Gligo, director of the nonprofit Housing Solutions in Tulsa said teams are working to move homeless people into shelters ahead of overnight lows that are expected to drop into single digits by Friday night.

The footprint of the storm extended as far south as Texas, where nearly a year after a catastrophic freeze buckled the state's power grid in one of the worst blackouts in US history, 

Governor Greg Abbott defended the state's readiness. The forecast did not call for the same prolonged and frigid temperatures as the February 2021 storm and the National Weather Service said the system would, generally, not be as bad this time for Texas.

The Upper Ohio Valley is bracing for up to 12 inches of snow while the lower part of the state can expect freezing rain 

'No one can guarantee that there won't be any' outages caused by demand on the power grid, Abbott said Tuesday. 'But what we will work to achieve, and what we're prepared to achieve is that power is going to stay on across the entire state.' 

No large-scale power outages were reported early Wednesday in Texas or elsewhere, according to

Texas and the south also prep for ice accumulation from Dallas to Memphis. The National Weather Service in Fort Worth warned on Tuesday that if temperatures dropped faster than expected, the state could see sleet and even potentially snow.  

'If it gets colder faster than expected, this would result in less ice and more sleet/snow,' the Fort Worth hub said.