A winter storm coated a swath of the country from Missouri to Maine with snow Wednesday, and forecasters warned of difficult travel in heavily populated cities like Chicago and Detroit.
About 100 flights into and out of Chicago’s O’Hare airport were canceled by midday, according to FlightAware.com, on top of more than 500 the day before.
Chicago had almost 5 inches of snow Tuesday, bringing its total for February to 14.9 inches and ranking it among the 20 snowiest months on record, according to NBCChicago.com.
As the storm moves east, it is expected to dump 6 to 10 inches of snow Wednesday and Thursday from the Allegheny Mountains of western Pennsylvania through the Adirondacks of upstate New York and into interior New England.
It is the same storm system that blasted the Rockies and the Great Plains earlier this week, packing hurricane-force wind gusts and shutting down travel in Kansas, Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle.
“It has a couple of jabs yet, especially for New England,” said Weather Channel meteorologist Tom Niziol.
In the Midwest, the National Weather Service issued winter storm warnings for Wednesday — some stretching into Thursday — for parts of Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin and Michigan. Heavily populated areas, including Milwaukee, suburban Chicago, northern suburbs of Detroit and Des Moines, Iowa, were also under warnings.
In the Northeast, the storm was expected to bring snow and ice to New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and parts of Maine through Thursday afternoon.
New York and other major cities such as Boston were forecast to mostly escape the heavy weather. But commuters in New York slogged through heavy wind and rain to get to work Wednesday. Upstate New York and northern parts of New England were expected to see further snow through Wednesday into the evening.
“It’s going to linger for a long time over portions of the Northeast,” meteorologist Brian Korty told Reuters.
The storm's biggest impact has been in Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma, though. In Texas, winds gusted to 84 mph near El Paso, according to Weather.com, which reported 7-foot snow drifts in Silverton, south of Amarillo.
The 19 inches of snow in Amarillo on Monday set a 120-year record, meteorologist Krissy Scotten told NBC Dallas-Fort Worth. The city in the Texas Panhandle usually sees an average of just under 18 inches for the entire winter, Scotten said.
To the east, parts of Missouri got more than a foot of snow, and Kansas City had 8 inches with more falling Wednesday morning.