Nightly News   |  March 05, 2013

Major winter storm brings advisories in 14 states

A fierce, late-season storm has been pummeling the Midwest, making a snowy mess on sidewalks and highways and creating headaches for air travelers. NBC’s John Yang reports.

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>>> and attention all those with plans to fly into or out of chicago o'hare. another big and punishing snowstorm making its way across the country tonight. bad weather could have earring lot of ground. rain in the south. but heavy snow further on up north. winter weather watches and warnings stretching across a huge area from eastern minnesota all the way to the appalachian mountains . nbc's john yang with us from michigan avenue in chicago . john, good evening.

>> reporter: good evening, brian. in the chicago area , already about eight and a half inches on the ground in some places. this is the most snow chicago has seen since the blizzard of 2011 . the fierce late-season storm is p pummeling the midwest, making a mess on sidewalks and highways.

>> could have blowing snow and that nation tough.

>> reporter: this morning, a tractor trailer slid off a snow-covered wisconsin interstate, plunging into the river. authorities said a driver died and a passenger was missing. for air travelers, a giant headache. nationwide, airlines cancelled about 1300 flights, more than 1,000 of them at chicago 's midway and o'hare airports.

>> started at midway airport , and that flight was canceled. so i rebooked out of o'hare to kansas city and now i'm here weight.

>> reporter: the snow's falling at a rate of as much as an inch and a half an hour. the storm's snow accumulations are impressive. 7.1 inches in minneapolis. 8.6 in new hampton, iowa. and 15 inches in starkweather, north dakota . experts say when it melts, it could ease the persistent drought.

>> i'm glad to see it because the lakes and rivers were so shallow.

>> reporter: it may be less welcome along the jersey shore , hit hard by hurricane sandy. parts of brick township , new jersey, are under a voluntary evacuation order as officials prepare for coastal flooding. here in chicago , the snow's not expected to taper off until about midnight tonight, so road crews will be working all night to get ready for the morning rush . brian?

>> john yang , michigan avenue in chicago . john, thanks.