A formidable snowstorm has gripped America’s Midwest, causing widespread disruptions, including thousands of flight cancellations and delays, and even impacting the presidential campaign trail. The Snowstorm strikes America’s Midwest, leading to challenges across the region.
The Snowstorm strikes America’s Midwest, affecting tens of millions across the Northwest and Midwest, bringing heavy snow, strong winds, and the threat of flooding along the East Coast. It has also heightened the risk of potential tornadoes in the South.
Airlines across the U.S. were forced to cancel or delay over 5,000 flights on Friday. Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport witnessed many planes grounded due to the treacherous combination of winds and blinding snow. In Iowa, the inclement weather led to the cancellation of several events by Republican presidential candidates just three days ahead of the state’s crucial caucuses.
The National Weather Service (NWS) warned of blizzards hitting the upper Midwest on Friday morning, predicting heavy snows and fierce winds of up to 60 miles per hour (96 kph) that would continue into Saturday. Meteorologist Zack Taylor from the NWS’s Weather Prediction Center cautioned against unnecessary travel, especially in Chicago, where visibility was reduced to less than half a mile in some areas.
In Iowa, temperatures were forecast to plummet below zero degrees Fahrenheit (minus 18 degrees Celsius), raising concerns about frostbite and hypothermia. The forecast for Monday’s caucuses in Des Moines was a chilling low of minus 18 F (minus 28 C), potentially the coldest on record for the event.
Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley cancelled her Friday campaign events, switching to phone-in events. Meanwhile, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis braved the storm for his campaign in Ankeny, Iowa, where locals like Fred Shuster expressed concerns about the weather’s impact on caucus attendance. For Donald Trump supporters, a rally in Pella, Iowa, was also cancelled.
The storm caused over 160,000 power outages across Illinois, Texas, Wisconsin, Arkansas, and Tennessee. Chicago Public Schools remained open, but many other districts cancelled in-person classes.
O’Hare International Airport saw over 1,500 flights cancelled or delayed on Friday morning. Milwaukee, Wisconsin, braced for 12 to 18 inches of snow with strong wind gusts, while Western New York, including Buffalo, anticipated more than a foot of snow.
In addition to the blizzard, the East Coast faced flood threats, and Mississippi was on alert for tornadoes and severe thunderstorms. The Pacific Northwest and the Central Rockies also experienced a winter storm, expecting heavy snowfall over the weekend.
This multifaceted storm system highlights extreme weather events’ varied and severe impacts, affecting everything from daily life to significant political events like the presidential caucuses.