Nov 11, 2014 1:11 AM
Arctic blast descends on Rockies, Upper Midwest
The Associated Press
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) After being buried under more than a foot of snow, parts of the Rockies and Upper Midwest were getting their first icy touch of arctic air on Tuesday. And the rest of the Midwest and the East are expecting a dose later in the week, with temperatures forecast as much as 40 degrees below average.
The frigid air was pushed in by a powerful storm that hit Alaska with hurricane-force winds over the weekend.
A look at the storm and its effects:
ISN'T IT STILL FALL?
Winter is still more than a month away, but it doesn't feel like it.
Residents were digging out from as much as 13 inches of snow Tuesday morning in northern Wisconsin, where several school districts cancelled classes, while some Minnesotans awoke to 15 inches of fresh powder with more snow expected.
Michigan's Upper Peninsula also was buried under at least a foot of snow Tuesday with another foot or two expected prompting several school closures, including at Northern Michigan University. National Weather Service meteorologist Justin Titus said roads are in "very poor condition," with 2 to 3 inches of snow falling an hour on Tuesday morning.
Terri Sommerfeld, a clerk at Ace Hardware in Webster, Wisconsin, said the store usually sells six or seven snowblowers in a typical winter. That's how many the store has sold in two days.
"It hasn't been overly busy today, but the ones that are coming are buying snowblowers and shovels," she said.
THE COLD AFTER THE SNOW
The blast of frigid weather sent temperatures tumbling in the Texas Panhandle, plunging from the 70s into the teens. Similar balmy weather in Missouri was replaced by temperatures in the 20s dropping some 40 degrees overnight along with a light dusting of snow.
In parts of Colorado, temperatures fell into the teens about 20 to 30 degrees below normal and they're expected to remain through Thursday.
SNOW: NO JOKE FOR FARMERS, BUT RANCHERS CAN BEAR IT
The storm stirred anxiety for some farmers in Minnesota and South Dakota whose corn had not yet been harvested. The corn can withstand the cold, but deep snow may delay farmers getting it out of fields.
Yet ranchers in the Dakotas were surprisingly upbeat with only a few inches of snow in the forecast, after intense storms in October 2013 killed at least 43,000 cattle that hadn't yet developed their heavy protective winter coats.
This year, "we've had enough cool weather that they're haired up like bears," said South Dakota Stockgrowers Association President Bob Fortune, who ranches near Belvidere, South Dakota. "They can take winter now."
READY. SET. WAIT.
Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport saw the brunt of the cancellations and delays Monday, with about 175 cancellations, while about 19 had been cancelled Tuesday out of hundreds of arriving and departing flights, according to the airport.
There were no delays Tuesday morning at Sawyer International Airport in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
KEEP CALM AND SHOVEL ON
The snow got a mixed reception in Minneapolis, where the first inch tripled morning drive times Monday. At one point, the weather turned to sleet, and tiny pellets stung uncovered faces and hands. Crews were plowing, shoveling or brushing off sidewalks, and snowplows did several loops around city streets.
Richard Anderson, who was decorating small trees outside Seven Steakhouse, was downcast.
"As a professional holiday decorator you'd think I'd appreciate it. But I appreciate it when I'm all finished, and I'm finally sitting down and enjoying my own Christmas tree," Anderson said. "It's wet, cold, sticks to you. It's freezing on your jacket as it's raining. What do you call it? Rain, sleet and snow. And it's bitter. It's really bitter. It's not very nice."
Elsewhere, in Minnesota, the State Patrol said at least two people were killed in accidents on icy roads and troopers handled 475 crashes and more than 700 spinouts statewide by Monday evening.
In eastern Wisconsin, snow-covered roads were blamed for a school bus crash that sent the driver and an aide to a hospital, WBAY-TV reported.
In Chicago, some people were savoring breezy but mild weather near 60 before unseasonably cold freezing temperatures arrive Wednesday.
"I just wanted to enjoy one of the last nice days," said 44-year-old Joe Kauda, of the Chicago suburb of Carol Stream.
Associated Press writers Amy Forliti in Minneapolis; Blake Nicholson in Bismarck, North Dakota; and Kerry Lester in Chicago contributed to this report.