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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Federal government braces for latest severe winter storm

A storm brought more misery to at least two dozen states in the Southwest, the ice-crusted Midwest and the already slush-buried Northeast, and threatened on Tuesday to turn one of the nation’s worst winters into something that only a snowman could love.

Road conditions were more slippery than glass as ice formed along some 1,500 miles across the nation. The Dallas-Fort Worth international airport closed for 2-1/2 hours, blocking fans from arriving for this weekend’s Super Bowl. Airlines including United, Continental, Delta, American and Southwest said they had canceled more than 4,000 flights, including 1,200 in the major hubs around Chicago.

In Washington, President Obama was briefed by telephone by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The National Weather Service has issued winter storm watches, warnings or advisories in more than 30 states, and blizzard warnings have been issued for eight states — Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma and Wisconsin,”” the White House said.

Eleven states have already accepted FEMA offers of personnel for the storm. The agency has also moved needed goods such as water, meals, blankets and generators into staging positions to be used if needed, according to the Obama administration.

The storm, expected to take much of the week to work its way across the nation, brought school shutdowns, power outages, clogged transportation arteries and general commuter misery to more than 100 million residents.

According to the weather service website, “”Very large amounts of snow and ice are expected with this storm, and strong north to northwest winds will result in blowing and drifting of snow, with some drifts totaling several feet in depth. These winds will continue into Wednesday. Bitterly cold air will also build in behind this system and result in temperatures falling to below zero for many areas and wind chills of 15 to 25 below zero Thursday morning.

“”Do not travel! Stay inside!”” the weather service warned. “”Strong winds and blinding snow will make travel nearly impossible. This is a life-threatening storm.””

Chicago prepared to carry as much as 2 feet of snow on its brawny shoulders. Illinois, Missouri and Oklahoma declared states of emergency as snow fell so thickly that visibility followed temperatures down to zero.

Ice, usually a greater threat than snow, was expected to coat a swath from St. Louis to Indianapolis and on to Pittsburgh and even parts of New Jersey. An inch and half of ice and up to a foot of snow was predicted for New York City.

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