Dangerous Winter Storm Slamming the Northwest and Midwest, Millions of People Are in the Path

Winter Storm Jacob has rolled through the Northwest and Midwest, shutting down hundreds of miles of highways and affecting air travel in its path. The storm now barrels its way across the Great Lakes region and heads into the Northeast this weekend.

The Weather Channel reported the storm shut down more than 500 miles of highway, including Interstate 29 from Grand Forks, North Dakota, to Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Interstate 94 in North Dakota is also closed from Bismarck to Fargo. The North Dakota Highway Patrol shared a photo of I-94 on Twitter. "Don't try to travel around the Interstate," NDHP tweeted. "It will be even worse on smaller highways."

Trooper Allen’s view this morning EB I-94 near Jamestown. If you look closely you might make out the road closed gate in front of him. It’s worse in the more open areas. Don’t try to travel around the interstate. It will be even worse on the smaller highways! #stayhome #NDHP364 pic.twitter.com/eIFYDhSGfF

— North Dakota Highway Patrol (@NDHighwayPatrol) January 18, 2020

The winter storm has led to several accidents from dangerous driving conditions. A Missouri fire truck fell on its side Friday. Nebraska State Patrol tweeted there had been 41 crashes as of 5:43 p.m. on Friday.

The National Weather Service forecasted that strong winds would produce blizzard conditions in eastern half of the Dakotas, far western Minnesota and Northwest Iowa.

"Winds across these regions may gust to over 50 mph, producing considerable blowing and drifting of snow and life threatening travel conditions," NWS predicted.

More than 185 flights were cancelled at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, according to The Weather Channel. The storm also caused a plane to slip off the runway at Kansas City International Airport. Almost 90 flights were cancelled at Kansas City International Airport and 84 flights were cancelled at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Winter Storm Jacob will move to the Northeast on Sunday, bringing heavy snow to Northern New York and New England, according to the NWS. CNN forecasts 6 to 12 inches of snow from parts of Michigan to New England. Freezing rain will also affect parts of the Midwest. CNN predicted up to a half-inch of ice in the Midwest and the Northern Atlantic.

"To the south of the heavy snow area, freezing rain will produce accumulating ice potential across portions of the Midwest and into the central Appalachians and Mid-Atlantic," NWS noted. "Overall, this storm has the potential to produce widespread hazardous conditions across much of the northeastern quarter of the nation over the next day and a half."

Some school districts in Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Minnesota were closed Friday. NBC-affiliate KWQC reported that several cities in Illinois and Iowa issued snow emergencies from Friday to Saturday.

The Weather Channel did not immediately respond to request for comment.

CNN reported that very low temperatures will follow the storm, with temperatures below average in parts of the Midwest. Temperatures in Minneapolis will drop below zero on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday mornings. Chicago will hit lows in the single digits, with highs in the teens and low 20's through Tuesday.

winter storm
A snow plows clears the roads in the Angeles National Forest north of Los Angeles, California December 26, 2019 after a cold winter storm brought heavy rain, snow and strong winds to much of southern California. Robyn BECK / AFP/Getty