Nightly News   |  January 20, 2012

Winter storm wallops the Midwest

Chicago is bracing for eight inches of snow, and airports around the region are experiencing massive delays. The Weather Channel’s Mike Seidel reports.

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>>> the warm snow-free winter. the midwest is getting socked with the second major snowstorm in as many weeks. chicago is look iing at situation to eight inches before it's all over tomorrow morning . that big system is pushing east. weather channel meteorologist mike seidel is in chicago tonight . mike?

>> reporter: hey, good evening, lester. it's a travel nightmare whether you're driving here lakeshore drive or flying. 20-minute commutes are taking as long as two hours. so far, more than 800 flights have been canceled today at chicago 's two airports. a major winter storm walloping cities in the midwest today. chicago expecting up to six inches through this evening. already, drivers are seeing havoc on the road.

>> they're not too good so far. they haven't been plowing much.

>> reporter: the first real blast of winter started later this year. it's already january and workers at the chicago home depot say shovels and salt have been flying off the shelves.

>> we are expecting to have a lot of snow. we are all geared up as far as supplies go.

>> reporter: the storm system dumped snow across the entire region with seven inches in iowa, six inches in illinois, three in minnesota, causing massive delays at area airports. the dry, fluffy snow adds up quickly and is severely reducing visibility.

>> one lane open, the other is closed. sometimes you can see, sometimes you can't.

>> reporter: a similar system pounded the pacific northwest with snow, ice and rain. they are still recovering. 250,000 homes around seattle, takoma and olympia were without power today. downed powerlines blanketed the region.

>> i've never seen this before and it's frightening.

>> reporter: it's these images we'll soon be seeing farther east. you can follow this mess east here. check out the forecast map as the snow heads into pennsylvania and arrives in new york city after midnight tonight. around sunrise in boston tomorrow morning , that pink color, a wintry mix to start out in d.c. and baltimore. then it changes to rain. in philadelphia, you may get mixed sleet and ice after some snow. one to three more inches here. windy and snowy and chicago . three to five in new york city . this is the first snowfall in new york city since the big storm back in late october.

>> we know that well. we had a free ride around here. does this open up the flood gates or snow gates for the rest of winter to proceed as usual?

>> reporter: not in the short term. in fact, it will warm up sunday and monday back into the 40s and 50s in much of the east. next storm will be a rain storm . there is not a whole lot of winter weather on the weather map coast-to-coast next week. so far, nothing persistent like last winter.

>> mike seidel in chicago , thanks.