Parts of the Midwest awoke to heavy snowfall on Super Bowl Sunday and the Northeast braced for a second round of winter storm conditions less than a week after a massive winter storm shuttered public transportation in several major cities, including New York. Meteorologists have predicted a possible 18 inches of snow for the Chicago area, with northern Illinois at least 6 inches of new snowfall already recorded by morning, the Chicago Tribune reported.
"Ground zero is going to be in the heart of Chicago based on current estimations," said weather service meteorologist Gino Izzi, the Tribune reported. "The roads are already atrocious, and conditions will not improve later Sunday."
Airlines canceled nearly 2,000 flights in the region, half of which were out of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, according to online flight tracker Flightaware.com. About 15,000 homes southwest of Chicago were without power as heavy snow and tree branches took out power lines.
In Michigan, more than two dozen cities near Detroit made emergency declarations as officials said to expect as much as 14 inches of snow. Highways became clogged Sunday morning as the winter storm coming up from the southern and central Plains dumped snow, sleet and rain on the region, the Detroit Free Press reported. "It's typical to get accumulating snowfalls [this time of year], but this looks to be on the high end," meteorologist Dan Thompson told the paper.
The National Weather Service said road conditions in the Detroit area would be “extraordinarily dangerous” by Sunday afternoon as winds were expected to grow stronger, with gusts reaching 40 mph, and visibility continuing to drop. “Blizzard conditions will also develop, especially near the lake and in more open areas,” the weather agency said in a statement. Meteorologists said the winter storm system would leave the lake region by Sunday evening, but that so-called lake effect snow could continue to dump a few inches of powder through Monday.
The incoming cold front is also encroaching on the Northeast. Weather officials issued winter storm warnings for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut where snowfall could total 7-8 inches, although snow conditions were not expected until Sunday evening. The storm could continue into Sunday night and into Monday, making travel along highways between Washington and Boston difficult.
Last week's Juno winter storm led to millions of East Coasters staying home from work and school Tuesday as cities closed down roads and public transit systems. City officials were later criticized for taking such drastic measures -- it was the first time in the history of the New York City subway that the trains were shut down because of snow -- when snowfall totals in many areas fell far short of predictions.
In California, which has experienced some of the worst drought conditions in the state’s history, the San Francisco Bay Area recorded no rain in January for the first time in 165 years, according to the Los Angeles Times. The National Weather Service said last month was the region’s driest on record.