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Archive for Saturday, December 27, 2008

Ice glazes Midwest; snow blankets West

December 27, 2008

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— Yet another snowstorm closed highways in parts of the West on Friday, the latest in a tiring week of bad weather, and a dangerous sheet of ice in parts of the Midwest contributed to a looming flood problem.

Winter storm warnings were in effect Friday for parts of Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and the western Dakotas, and a blizzard warning covered the mountains of southwest Colorado.

“It’s going to be a heck of a storm,” said Chris Cuoco, senior forecaster for the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, Colo. “We’re expecting significant snowfall in all the mountains of Colorado. Even the valleys are going to see 4-plus inches of snow.”

Up to 20 inches of snow was forecast in parts of the Rockies, along with wind gusts of up to 80 mph.

The Utah Avalanche Center on Friday renewed its warning against travel in mountain backcountry, saying up to 3 feet of new snow in places, plus strong wind, had overloaded layers of very weak snow and raised the threat of avalanches.

A Utah avalanche killed two people earlier in the week, and a snow slide in California’s Sierra Nevada killed one man Thursday.

In the Midwest, freezing rain glazed streets and highways in the Chicago area. The Eisenhower Expressway — Interstate 290 — was closed for a time because of the ice, and the village of Lemont blocked off all its major intersections.

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