CHICAGO – A large swathe of the US South and Midwest still digging out from last week’s huge snowfall faced more wintry weather Wednesday as the fifth major storm of the season forced several states to close schools and kept many residents homebound.
The powerful winter storm began coating parts of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas late Tuesday, barely a week after millions of Americans dug out from one of the largest storms since the 1950s massive storm that dumped snow, ice and sleet over a huge stretch of America’s midsection.
A total of nine states faced a winter storm warning, complete with bone-chilling temperatures and a headache-inducing wintry mix.
Up to 20 inches (51 centimeters) of snow were forecast for Oklahoma, accompanied by “dangerous wind chills” between zero and minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 to -23 Celsius), the National Weather Service said.
It predicted snow and sleet falling as far south as central Texas before dumping rain and snow across the Deep South and moving eastward to deliver wintry weather on parts of the East Coast on Thursday.
Arkansas, accustomed to milder winters free of major snow or ice storms, braced for subfreezing temperatures and up to eight inches (20 centimeters) of snow in Little Rock due to leave roads “snow-packed, slick and hazardous,” according to the weather service.
A dusting of light snow was forecast across the Great Lakes region, but cold air and cyclonic upper-level flow over the area will help trigger lake effect snow its southeastern shores Thursday.
Rain was expected to develop across much of the Southeast by Thursday.
Parts of Montana, Illinois, Kentucky, West Virginia and Georgia were also under a winter weather advisory. The snow was due to taper off over the Carolina coast and southeastern Virginia by Thursday morning, with the cold front expected to move off the Florida peninsula by late Thursday.
Last week’s epic storm affected around 100 million people in at least 30 of the 50 US states.
In all, more than 18,500 flights were canceled across the country, while Chicago got nearly two feet of snow, its third biggest snowfall on record, as near-hurricane force winds sucked moisture off Lake Michigan.