Image: Metrdome in Minneapolis, Minn.
Ann Heisenfelt  /  AP
Workers shovel snow off the roof of Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis on Sunday. 
updated 12/13/2010 1:17:51 AM ET 2010-12-13T06:17:51

A powerful, gusty storm dumped mounds of snow across the upper Midwest on Sunday, closing major highways in several states, canceling more than 1,600 flights in Chicago and collapsing the roof of the Minnesota Vikings' stadium.

At least four weather-related deaths were reported as the storm system dropped nearly 2 feet of snow in parts of Minnesota and marched east. A blizzard warning was in effect Sunday for parts of eastern Iowa, southeastern Wisconsin, northwestern Illinois and northern Michigan, according to the National Weather Service. Surrounding areas, including Chicago, were under winter storm warnings. Much of Iowa was under a wind-chill advisory.

In Minneapolis, the heavy snow left the Metrodome decidedly unready for some football. Video inside the stadium aired by Fox Sports showed the inflatable Teflon roof sagging before it tore open, dumping massive amounts of snow across one end of the playing field.

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No one was hurt but the Vikings' game against the New York Giants had to be moved to Detroit's Ford Field. The day of the game had already been pushed back from Sunday to Monday because the storm kept the Giants from reaching Minneapolis on time. Stadium officials were trying to repair the roof in time for the Vikings' next home game, Dec. 20 against Chicago.

Giants-Vikings game moved to Detroit

The wintry weather, with blowing snow that severely limited visibility, wreaked havoc on air and road travel. In the Chicago area, wind gusts of up to 50 mph, temperatures in the teens and wind chills well below zero were expected, along with up to 8 inches of snow.

At least 1,375 flights were canceled at O'Hare International Airport and more than 300 were canceled at Midway International Airport, Chicago Department of Aviation spokeswoman Karen Pride said. Both airports expected more cancellations and reported significant delays.

Officials at O'Hare set up about 200 cots and will provide amenity kits containing toothpaste and toothbrushes in case travelers get stranded at the airport, Pride said.

Major highways in several states were closed due to poor driving conditions and accidents.

In Indianapolis, police said a man fatally stabbed his wife, then died four blocks from his home Sunday morning when his vehicle hit a tree after he lost control on a slippery road. Police did not immediately release the names of the couple.

Illinois State Police closed a section of Interstate 80 in the north central part of the state after a multiple-car pileup west of Peru and part of Interstate 55 near Springfield after accidents and reports of zero visibility. No deaths were reported.

Seven vehicles crashed on Interstate 94 about 50 miles west of Milwaukee, prompting authorities to close the westbound lanes. A vehicle lost control on an ice-covered road and slammed into a tree in southeastern Wisconsin, killing 21-year-old Alejandria Abaunza of Chicago and injuring two other people inside.

Tod Pritchard of Wisconsin Emergency Management warned that Sunday afternoon would be especially difficult because temperatures were falling and at a certain point, road salt would no longer be effective. The storm had already dropped up to 18 inches of snow in parts of northern and central Wisconsin, he said, and light snow continued Sunday.

Video: Blizzard warning in Wisconsin

Interstate 90 from Albert Lea, Minn., to Exit 410 in South Dakota reopened Sunday afternoon after being closed Saturday because blowing snow reduced visibility. Minnesota state highways also reopened, although transportation officials warned that many were still snow-compacted, icy and, in numerous cases, down to a single lane.

In Iowa, Interstate 29 from the state line to Sioux Falls, S.D. remained closed, although other portions of it and Interstate 80 reopened.

AAA-Michigan said it has been a busy day for its roadside assistance crews, with 850 calls from midnight through 12:30 p.m. Sunday.

"A lot of cars in ditches, spinouts, dead batteries," spokeswoman Nancy Cain said. "It's really the first big blast of winter weather statewide."

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Six people were injured Saturday when a van carrying 13 people hit a guardrail and overturned in Mecosta County, near Stanwood, Mich., in the north-central Lower Peninsula. Authorities said Sunday that weather played a role in the death of Douglas Munneke, 55, of St. Cloud, Minn. He died of a heart attack after collapsing while he was snow-blowing his driveway Saturday.

In western Wisconsin, a 79-year-old man snow-blowing the end of his driveway was killed when a plow truck backed into him. The St. Croix County Sheriff's Department said Clifford Larson of Woodville died at the scene.

Snow also blanketed Tennessee, where up to 8 inches was expected by Monday evening. WSMV-TV in Nashville reported that the bad weather forced several communities to cancel Christmas parades planned for Sunday.

The weather was an unexpected burden for a Minnesota man who had pledged to camp out on the roof of a coffee shop to help his daughter's school raise money.

Hospital executive Robert Stevens donned four layers of long underwear, heavy boots and a down coat before embarking on his quest Friday night. He had vowed not to come down until he had raised $100,000, but he reconsidered about 3 p.m. Saturday after high winds shredded his tent canopy.

But Sunday morning, Stevens headed back up to brave the subzero wind-chills. He had only raised $54,000 and said if he didn't get to his goal the school would likely close.

"Mother Nature won out yesterday — but I'm looking for the win today," Stevens said.


Associated Press writer Dirk Lammers in Sioux Falls, S.D., David Goodman in Detroit, Dinesh Ramde in Milwaukee and Patrick Condon in Minneapolis contributed to this report.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Storm buries Midwest, collapses stadium roof

  1. Transcript of: Storm buries Midwest, collapses stadium roof

    LESTER HOLT, anchor: A winterlike blast that buried parts of the upper Midwest in record snow yesterday powered eastward today with more snow and high winds, closing roads and crippling flight schedules out of Chicago 's busy airports. The snow is so heavy that -- take a look at this -- it even collapsed the inflatable roof at the Minneapolis Metrodome , forcing today's NFL game there to be relocated. Tonight blizzard and winter storm warnings stretch in parts of Wisconsin to western Pennsylvania . While the storm has brought heavy rain here along the East Coast , with a big cold snap right on its heels. NBC 's Michelle Franzen begins our coverage.

    MICHELLE FRANZEN reporting: At daybreak in Minneapolis , the digging out began to clear sidewalks and cars buried beneath a record 20 inches of snow.

    Unidentified Woman: It's the worst I've seen in a couple of years, that's for sure.

    FRANZEN: Digging people out?

    Unidentified Man #1: Just digging people out, get home, watch football.

    FRANZEN: But there would be no Sunday football at the Minneapolis Metrodome . The Vikings and New York Giants game canceled and moved to Detroit after the weight of this massive snowstorm caused the inflatable roof to collapse. The Weather Channel 's Scott Williams got a look inside after it came down.

    SCOTT WILLIAMS reporting: Typical temperatures inside the climate-controlled Metrodome here in Minneapolis are about 65 to 68 degrees, but it doesn't feel that way today. It feels more like it's in the single digits, all because of a one-two punch from Mother Nature of damaging winds and heavy snow. It has caused the largest tear since the stadium was built.

    FRANZEN: The storm and blizzard warnings made driving treacherous and also closed roads and grounded flights in several states. In Chicago , more than 1,000 flights were canceled, but it wasn't just the snow that caused problems. On Lake Michigan wind-driven waves pounded the shore, and residents also had to bear with bitter cold temperatures.

    Unidentified Man #2: Just trying to get through it, but the wind is just the worst part. It's not snowing that hard. It's just the blowing snow really hits you in the face pretty hard.

    FRANZEN: This rapid-moving storm now has its grip on the entire eastern third the country in the form of snow in Indiana and Ohio and heavy wind and rain as it moves east. Meanwhile, in the Pacific Northwest , a different storm. Snow melt and heavy rain caused flooding and mudslides in Washington state and affected Amtrak service between Seattle and Portland .

    ERIC FISHER reporting: Seattle 's already seen nearly five inches of rainfall and will probably see a few more inches before the week is all said and done .

    FRANZEN: Winter's wrath, leaving its mark

Photos: Winter storm hits hard

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  1. The cold front reached Philadelphia, Pa., on Tuesday, Dec. 14. Morning temperatures were below freezing. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Sandi Kintzel clears snow from her car during the blustery, wintry weather in Buffalo, N.Y., on Tuesday. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Wind gusts upwards of 40 miles per hour blew waves onto the shore and temperatures in the low teens quickly turned the spray to ice on Monday in Chicago. (Scott Olson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. A woman waits for a bus Monday in Mayfield Heights, Ohio. The wintry weather, with blowing snow that severely limited visibility, wreaked havoc on air and road travel. (Tony Dejak / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Traffic makes it's way through blowing snow along Broadway in Merrillville, Ind., on Monday. Snow was drifting along roadways in northwest Indiana, causing visibility problems and icy conditions. (Jeffrey D. Nicholls / Post-Tribune via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Ryan Shaw, left, and Jeff Messenger remove snow from a driveway in Bowling Green, Ohio, on Monday. (JD Pooley / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. High winds combined with icy roads could have been a factor in this accident near Maysville, Ky., on Monday. (Terry Prather / The Ledger Independent via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. A pedestrian shields himself from snow flurries on Monday in downtown Atlanta, Ga. (David Goldman / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Robert Metzner, who said he was homeless, rides his bike in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Monday. Metzner says he has been homeless for almost a year. "It wasn't bad during the summer, but now it's getting a little rough," he said. (Carrie Cochran / The Cincinnati Enquirer via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Abby Watkins laughs at her friend Hope Gregory after Hope got a face full of snow while sledding in Bowling Green, Ky., on Sunday. (Joe Imel / Daily News via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Hannah Kissel, left, and her brother, Ethan, find a new way to utilize their backyard trampoline in St. Joseph, Ind., on Sunday. (Denny Simmons / The Evansville Courier & Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Snow falls onto the field from a hole in the collapsed roof of the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minn., on Sunday. The inflatable roof of the Metrodome collapsed after a snowstorm dumped 17 inches on the city. No one was hurt, but the roof failure sent the NFL scrambling to find a new venue for the Vikings' game against the New York Giants. (Ann Heisenfelt / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Ice covers the railings near the lighthouse tower behind the Summerfest grounds in Milwaukee, Wis., on Sunday. (Kristyna Wentz-Graff / Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Patrick Keyes and Jessa Sebelko work to dig out Sebelko's car from a snowbank in Eau Claire, Wis., on Sunday. Eau Claire received 22 inches of snow. (Steve Kinderman / Eau Claire Leader-Telegram) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Michael Stevens uses a snow blower to remove snow around a neighbor's car in Winona, Minn., on Sunday. (Andrew Link / Winona Daily News) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Dan Holl, of the West Bend Department of Public Works, uses a makeshift scraper to clear snow from a stop light in West Bend, Wis., on Sunday. He and other workers had been up since Saturday night plowing several inches of snow that fell in the area. (Rick Wood / Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Larry Myer shovels out his driveway in Minneapolis. (Tom Dahlin / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Waves pummel the lighthouse on Lake Michigan Sunday, Dec. 12, in Milwaukee. (Kristyna Wentz-Graff / Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Margaret Patchin, of Traverse City, Mich., uses snow shoes and poles to walk along Barlow Street, Dec. 12, as she returns home after having breakfast with a group at Brady's Bar in downtown Traverse City. "Church got canceled but there are some of us who don't like to cancel the breakfast afterward," Patchin said. "This gives me a chance to walk it off," she explained. (Keith King / Traverse City Record-Eagle) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Snow falls Sunday, Dec. 12, in downtown Traverse City, Mich. (Keith King / Traverse City Record-Eagle) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. A car with a Christmas tree on top travels on a snow-covered road, Dec. 12, in Traverse City, Mich. (Keith King / Traverse City Record-Eagle) Back to slideshow navigation
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