First Day of Winter Slams Northern Half of Country

Wintry Conditions Cause Travel Problems Coast to Coast

Kansas City, Mo., Monday, Dec. 22, 2008 – The first day of winter caused horrendous travel conditions on the ground and in the air Sunday as NOAA weather forecasters warned of continued winter storms for much of the county.

Strong, gusty winds stretched dangerous wind chills from the northern plains across the Great Lakes to New England and pushed them southward from the Dakotas to Kansas and Missouri. Sunday’s dangerous weather conditions were so bad they forced numerous cancellations, many in unsuspecting locales. Officials were forced to cancel the Target Holidazzle parade in Minneapolis-St. Paul Sunday evening when wind chills dipped to more than 20 degrees below zero.

Northern Illinois residents were advised to stay indoors because of temperatures below zero and high winds. Airlines cancelled about 150 flights at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport Sunday.

Monday morning, Chicago and northeastern Illinois were under a Wind Chill Advisory with a Winter Storm Watch following Tuesday afternoon. Forecasters warned of wind chills of 20-28 degrees below zero until about Noon Monday. The Winter Storm Watch called for significant snowfall Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday afternoon on top of ¼-inch of ice.

In the West, forecasters at NOAA’s Riverton, Wyo., forecast office issued a Winter Storm Warning and a Winter Weather Advisory in effect until 5 p.m. MST Monday for northwestern Wyoming, including Yellowstone National Park. Park residents and travelers can expect 10-18 inches of snow by Monday evening with 6-10 inches in the Abaroka Range and 2-8 inches in other locations.

A Winter Storm Warning issued by Grand Junction, Colo., forecasters calls for 8-16 inches of snow and blowing snow by midnight MST in most mountain locations of western Colorado and eastern Utah. Snows will be driven by winds of 15-25 mph with gusts to 35 mph.

Wind Chill Advisories Monday morning for North Dakota noted actual temperatures of 5-20 degrees below zero with 10-20 mph winds pushing wind chills to 25-40 degrees below. A Winter Weather Advisory for central and south-central North Dakota calls for 2-5 inches of snow by midnight.

A Wind Chill Advisory from the Minneapolis, Minn., forecast office notes wind chills of 25-35 below zero to 9 a.m. A Winter Weather Advisory calls for 3-5 inches of snow from 9 p.m. Monday to 9 a.m. Tuesday for central and south-central Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin.

Milwaukee forecasters warned of wind chills of 20-30 below zero until about noon Monday with a Winter Weather Advisory calling for 3-6 inches of snow by Wednesday. La Crosse, Wis., was expected to see wind chills of 15-20 degrees below zero Monday morning with 3-5 inches of snow by 3 p.m. Tuesday.

Portions of Lower Michigan will see 1-3 inches of new snow by noon Monday, with Lake Effect Snow bringing heavier amounts to some locations. NOAA’s Gaylord National Weather Service office has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for northeastern Lower Michigan, including the cities of Gaylord and Houghton Lake. The Grand Rapids office issued a Winter Weather Advisory for lake effect snow until noon for southeastern Lower Michigan including Holland and Kalamazoo.

Additional storm details and local forecasts are available by selecting the desired map location at http://weather.gov.

Forecast and current weather details can be seen on the NOAAWatch daily weather briefing at http://www.noaawatch.gov/briefing.php.

Contact:  Public Affairs Specialist Patrick Slattery, 816-268-3135.



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