Winter storm warning – live: Historic snow and ice threatens Minnesota, Dakotas and Wisconsin
Half a dozen states were largely shut down on Wednesday as a historic winter storm bearing heavy snowfall, powerful winds and bitterly cold temperatures descended on the northern plains and Midwest.
Schools were closed in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin while public officials warned people to keep off the roads due to dangerous whiteout conditions.
In the twin cities of Minneapolis and St Paul, a first round of wintry conditions dropped three to five inches of snow across the area. The flurries will pick up in intensity by Wednesday afternoon, according to a winter storm warning from the National Weather Service. Snow emergencies were also issued in the surrounding areas of Plymouth, Robbinsdale, St. Louis Park and Elk River.
A slew of weather warnings, watches and advisories were issued in nearly two dozen states by the National Weather Service (NWS) with forecasts sounding the alarm on severe impacts from coast to coast.
Flight woes were also mounting. Total delays in and out of the US topped 1,300 flights by late Wednesday morning, according to the travel site FlightAware, with more than 1,100 cancellations.
Follow the latest updates below
Key points so far
Half a dozen states were largely shut down on Wednesday
Schools closed in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin
Weather warnings and advisories issued in two dozen states by the National Weather Service
Watch: Weather forecast as coast-to-coast storm hits the US
16:52 , Louise Boyle
Businesses, schools shuttered and roads closed
16:33 , Louise Boyle
Many schools throughout the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin were called off for Wednesday, ahead of the storm, The Associated Press reports.
Offices closed, and so did the Minnesota Legislature. South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem shut down state executive branch offices in several parts of the state, and employees were working remotely.
In Wyoming, virtually every road was impacted, and many were closed. Officials warned they may stay that way for days.
While the Midwest shivers, record-breaking heat in Florida
16:18 , Louise Boyle
While temperatures plummeted in the northern half of the United States on Wednesday further south, daily high temperature records were being matched or broken.
In Marathon, Florida, the daily high temperature record was tied for the second day in a row as the town hit 86F on Tuesday.
Is everyone ready??? SECOND DAY in a row: #MarathonFL tied the daily high temperature record for today.
A ridge will continue to promote warm, dry, and calm weather conditions, with nil (Pops) through the rest of the week.#FLKeys #FLwx pic.twitter.com/pMtFmCEYnx
— NWS Key West (@NWSKeyWest) February 22, 2023
St Paul sees dangerous whiteout conditions
16:07 , Louise Boyle
Flight cancellations pile up at US airports
15:53 , Louise Boyle
Travel woes were beginning to mount up at US airports on Wednesday morning as the severe weather conditions took hold.
More than 1,000 flights had been cancelled in the US and another 1,000 or so delayed, according to FlightAware.
The worst affected airports were in Minneapolis-St Paul, Denver and Detroit.
Twin cities to get slammed by historic storm
15:37 , Louise Boyle
In the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St Paul, the first round of wintry conditions dropped three to five inches of snow across the area. The flurries will pick up in intensity by Wednesday afternoon, NWS reported.
The February record of 13.8 inches of snow from a single storm in Minneapolis “is likely to be smashed,” reported AccuWeather meteorologist Matt Benz.
There seems to be some confusion this morning because the sun has come out. Does this mean all we got was a measly 3-5" and it's over?
Nope! As we've talked about for days, round 2 is on the way and it will pack a punch! Expect an ADDITONAL 10-15" by tomorrow morning. #mnwx #wiwx pic.twitter.com/boVp5fK4PR
— NWS Twin Cities (@NWSTwinCities) February 22, 2023
California to get rare blizzard
15:33 , Louise Boyle
In California, a rare blizzard warning was issued for mountains in Los Angeles County and Ventura County from early on Friday morning until Saturday afternoon.
In the meantime, California can expect yet more rainfall after being deluged by a wave of atmospheric rivers at the beginning of the year.
Moderate rainfall, but heavy in some spots, and thunderstorms are forecast in the Pacific Northwest on Wednesday before moving south and settling over California on Thursday.