- Flights are canceled at Charlotte, Atlanta and other airports in the storm’s path.
- Airlines are waiving change fees.
- Georgia, Virginia and the Carolinas declared emergencies ahead of the storm.
Hundreds of flights are canceled, roads were left were covered in snow and ice and several states have declared emergencies as a winter storm moves across a wide swath of the country over this holiday weekend.
The storm, named Izzy by The Weather Channel, is being blamed for multiple vehicle crashes and has prompted the opening of warming centers in some cities and the postponement of some Martin Luther King Jr. Day events.
Here’s a look at the effects of – and preparations for – Izzy so far:
What Izzy’s Brought and Where the Storm is Headed
The sprawling storm will produce major travel headaches from Arkansas to northern Georgia and up to Maine.
Parts of northern North Dakota and western Minnesota picked up 8 to 12 inches of snow. A couple inches of snow blanketed parts of the Twin Cities.
Snow fell at the rate of 1 inch per hour Friday afternoon in Des Moines, Iowa, which ended up with more than 14 inches of snow by Saturday morning. Izzy is the biggest snowstorm in Des Moines since 1971.
Much of Missouri and northern Arkansas have picked up at least 3 inches of snow, as of Saturday afternoon, with some spots seeing more than 6 inches. Snowflakes have also been spotted in Oklahoma City and Dallas.
Check our full forecast here, and click here for maps, radar and everything you need to track the storm.
Hundreds of Flights Canceled
As of Saturday evening, more than 1,000 flights had been canceled for Sunday at North Carolina’s Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, according to airline tracker Flight Aware. More than 260 Sunday flights were so far canceled in Atlanta and more than 150 at Reagan National in the D.C. area.
American, Delta, Southwest, JetBlue and Spirit airlines all issued travel advisories and waived change fees at those and dozens of other airports in Izzy’s path.
Other major cities affected include Baltimore, Boston, Nashville, New York, Philadelphia and Raleigh-Durham.
Some Atlanta-Area Holiday Events Postponed
Officials in Gwinnet County, Georgia, said some Day of Service projects – community volunteer events to mark the Martin Luther King Jr. Day – were being postponed or rescheduled. They advised participants to check the event listings on the county website for the latest updates.
Power Outages a Major Concern
As a general rule of thumb, once ice accumulations reach about a quarter-inch, which is forecast in several areas, the weight of the ice on tree limbs and power lines can cause them to sag or snap, leading to increased tree damage and power outages.
The storm will also generate strong winds in the same area where accumulating ice is forecast.
The force of these winds will add to the stress on ice-laden trees and power lines, leading to more downed trees and power outages than otherwise would happen with much lighter winds.
Click here to read the full story on Izzy’s ice and power outage threat.
Iowa State Patrol Responds to Multiple Crashes
State police in Iowa handled more than 100 crashes and 325 calls for service in a 24-hour period ending Saturday morning. No fatalities were reported, but at least two of those crashes involved police vehicles that were hit while responding to calls.
Emergency Declarations Issued in Southern States
The governors of Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina all issued emergency declarations on Friday. All advised residents to prepare before the storm moves in.
“This storm will bring significant impacts from snow, sleet and freezing rain in different parts of the state, with likely power outages and travel disruptions,” North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said in a news release. “North Carolinians should pay close attention to their local weather forecast over the next few days, and make sure they are personally prepared before Saturday afternoon.”
West Virginia in ‘State of Preparedness’
Gov. Jim Justice placed the state on alert to prepare for winter weather. The move signals the state Emergency Operations Center and related agencies to be ready to posture personnel and resources should an emergency develop.
Iowa Interstates Closed
A portion of Interstate 80 was closed Saturday. Part of I-35 shut down Friday at around 12:30 p.m. CST due to a sideways truck blocking both lanes. The road reopened about an hour later. Travelers should check 511 for current road conditions.
Schools Closed in Some Areas Friday
Des Moines Public Schools canceled classes Friday. Several other school districts in Central Iowa also called off school or announced early dismissals.
Drivers Faced Slick Commutes
More than 200 plows were on the roads in Iowa Friday morning and operations continued throughout the day and evening, according to the Iowa Department of Transportation’s road conditions map.
Roads were already slick in the early morning and the Iowa State Patrol asked motorists in affected areas to stay home if possible.
Kansas City’s Snowplow Map Was Busy, Too
Kansas City’s snowplow map showed crews active on streets across the city Friday evening. Some schools in the region closed Thursday and Friday, but that was due to issues related to COVID-19.
Georgia One of Many States Prepping Roads
The Georgia Department of Transportation has more than 50,000 tons of salt and about 46,000 tons of gravel on hand, as well as 407 snow removal dump trucks.
“Winter weather is predicted in North Georgia and metro Atlanta this weekend. GDOT is preparing brine operations, equipment, materials, and staff to respond to the threat,” the agency said in a tweet. “We will continue to monitor conditions as the storm evolves.”
A GDOT official told The Weather Channel Thursday that people in affected areas should stay home and avoid travel.’
Here are five things to know about snow and ice in the South.
Shoppers Face Shortages that Could Get Worse
While shoppers stocked up on the usual bread, milk and other goods, one expert warned that the storm could impact the already stressed U.S. supply chain.
”From an impact perspective, with this kind of weather scenario, all it would take is an accident or two for major Interstate closures to occur,” Francisco Alvarez, lead meteorologist for trucking network Convoy, told weather.com in an email Thursday.
Alvarez cited Midwest highways as a major concern, for example.
“Basically if you could make a box between Omaha, Sioux Falls, Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Des Moines, that will be the most dangerous travel area for truckers,” as Izzy moves through the region, he said.
The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.