Posted on 02 Feb 2011
Much of the nation on Tuesday was hit by a vast winter storm, with nearly horizontal blowing snow, cloaking trees and power lines with ice up to an inch thick, forcing airports to close and complicating the travel plans of fans headed to this weekend's Super Bowl in Texas.
A mix of blizzard, ice, hard freeze and high wind warnings sprang up across most of the Lower 48 states as the system pressed eastward, from New Mexico to Maine. Forecasters said as many as 100 million people in the United States would feel its effects.
Blizzard warnings were up late Tuesday in eight states -- from eastern Kansas to western Ohio. The mass of frigid precipitation, in its relentless northeasterly march, formed an arc that was centered in the Great Lakes region and stretched from northeastern Kansas in the west to the edge of Chesapeake Bay in the east.
The stem of the storm brought needed rain to much of the Southeast, but unwelcome ice and hard freeze warnings in other places, as far south as Corpus Christi, Texas.
Parts of the Florida Panhandle, southwestern Georgia and southeastern Alabama were under a tornado watch. High-wind warnings were posted in eastern Tennessee and western Virginia, with gusts of 55 mph forecast in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
The National Weather Service forecasts and advisories through Wednesday night read like the Abominable Snow Monster's Christmas list: Up to 14 inches of snow in South Bend, Indiana, with winds up to 30 mph; Up 13 inches of snow and a low of 12 below zero in Ottumwa, Iowa; as much as 13 inches of new snow in Berlin, New Hampshire, by Wednesday night; hard freeze warnings in Houston and Galveston, Texas.