News / USA

Chicago Braces for Storm that Buried US Plains

City snow plows clear 23rd Street in Lawrence, Kansas, Feb. 26, 2013.
City snow plows clear 23rd Street in Lawrence, Kansas, Feb. 26, 2013.
A potent winter storm that buried much of the U.S. Plains and left at least three people dead moved into Chicago on Tuesday, forcing hundreds of flight cancellations and raising the specter of a nightmarish evening commute.
The National Weather Service's Chicago office issued a winter weather advisory from noon through 9 p.m. Central time.
Forecasters predicted the storm, which packs a dangerous mix of wet snow, sleet, rain and high winds, would reach peak intensity around the evening rush hour, reducing visibility and creating treacherous driving conditions.
The Illinois Tollway agency, which maintains nearly 300 miles of highway around Chicago, said it was mobilizing its fleet of more than 180 snowplows in anticipation of the storm, which was expected to dump as much as 6 inches of wet snow north of the city.
At Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, sleet and low clouds on the front end of the storm were causing delays of nearly two-and-a-half hours, according to, and nearly 300 arrivals and departures were canceled at O'Hare and Chicago's Midway Airport.
In Oklahoma, Texas and parts of Kansas, where some residents were still digging out from a winter storm last week, the storm dumped up to 17 inches (43 cm) of snow on Amarillo, Texas, and whipped Kansas City, Missouri, with winds of up to 30 miles (48 km) per hour.
Highways in the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles and parts of Kansas remained closed because of heavy and drifting snow.
Forecasters with the National Weather Service said the storm would dump three to five inches of wet snow on Detroit overnight and into Wednesday morning.
The storm has contributed to at least three deaths, two in Kansas and one in Oklahoma.
A woman died and three passengers were injured Monday night on Interstate 70 when their pickup truck rolled off the icy roadway in Ellis County, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback said. Earlier Monday, a man was killed when his car veered off the interstate in Sherman County near the Colorado border, he said.

"We urge everyone to avoid travel and be extremely cautious if you must be on the roads,'' said Ernest Garcia, superintendent of the Kansas Highway Patrol.
In northern Oklahoma, one person died when the roof of a home partially collapsed in the city of Woodward, said Matt Lehenbauer, the city's emergency management director.

"We have roofs collapsing all over town,'' said Woodward Mayor Roscoe Hill Jr. "We really have a mess on our hands.''
Kansas City was also hard hit by the storm, which dumped as much as 13 inches of snow on some parts of the metro region on Tuesday, said Chris Bowman, meteorologist for the National Weather Service.
Bowman said another one to three inches could fall Tuesday evening and nearly two-thirds of the flights at Kansas City International Airport Tuesday afternoon were canceled.
The storm cut power to some 80,000 households in the Kansas City metropolitan area and to more than 12,000 rural customers, officials said. About half the Kansas City customers had power restored by noon Tuesday, said a spokeswoman for Kansas City Power & Light.

Heavy wet snow weighed down power lines and tree branches, making them vulnerable to collapse, especially with winds of 10 to 20 mph, said Sharon Watson, spokesperson for emergency management in Kansas.
Watson said this week's storm has in ways had a greater impact than last week's.

"It has covered far less of an area but it has been more deadly and there is the big concern about power outages,'' Watson said.
Governors in Texas and Oklahoma had declared states of emergency in the areas struck by the snowstorm to speed assistance to those in need. Interstate and other highways were closed across the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles.

Areas around Amarillo and Lubbock received more than a foot (30 cm) of snow during the storm, which had cut visibility to near zero on some roads, Texas transportation officials said.
In addition to the winter storm, National Weather Service forecasters on Tuesday issued tornado watches across central Florida and up the eastern coast to South Carolina.

You May Like

Multimedia Brussels Schools, Metro Reopen Under Heavy Guard

City remains under the highest threat alert level due to what authorities have described as a 'serious and imminent' threat of attack

Video Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

Americans Think About Strange Stuff at Thanksgiving

Millions of Americans are celebrating Thanksgiving, but they’re not necessarily thinking about turkey and stuffing

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs