A late-winter blizzard is expected to clobber the U.S. Central Plains states Wednesday with up to two feet of snow and fierce winds and bring floods in the Upper Midwest, the National Weather Service said.
Authorities issued alerts and shut down schools and government offices across Denver and other mountain and plains communities. Blizzard conditions were expected from northeastern Colorado, southeastern Wyoming, western Nebraska and parts of North Dakota and South Dakota, the weather service said.
“It’s late in the season for this weather, but this is going to be serious,” said Brian Hurley of the NWS Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.
“We’re anticipating 20-to-30 degree weather and winds from 50, 60 and 70 mph in the region,” Hurley said. “The snow will start mid-morning, but the worst of it will be from mid-afternoon (Wednesday) and overnight into Thursday.”
Southwest Airlines cancelled all flights in and out of Denver International Airport for most of Wednesday, the Denver Post reported.
About 2,000 flights were cancelled early Wednesday with about 900 reported at that airport, the biggest regional hub, according to the flight tracking site FlightAware.
The storm will also bring heavy rain to areas of eastern Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota that already have a good deal of snow on the ground, the NWS said.