Storms Could Impact 40 Million Americans, Snarl Travel
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A severe weather band that is bringing everything from snow to high wind and thunderstorms to tornados is cutting across a huge swath of the United States, threatening as many as 40 million people and putting travel of all kinds in jeopardy.
The powerful storm is moving west to east, from the Rockies to the Great Lakes, and has already caused enough damage in Nevada to knock out power and force school closures in Reno. Colorado got snow, including more than a foot in the Rockies; within 12 hours on Tuesday, the temperature swung from 67 in Denver to 32. So far, Denver International Airport was able to weather the storm, pardon the pun – a spokesman told the Associated Press that only about 50 flights were canceled out of the airport's 1,500 daily flights.
As the system turns north and east, the National Weather Service issued tornado watches for most of the day in parts of Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and Iowa.
Sustained winds of 30 to 40 mph were expected in Michigan, with gusts up to 55 mph, and the National Weather Service issued gale warnings for the Great Lakes region that are in effect until today.
As the storm continues east, it will like run into warmer, more humid air – increasing the chances of thunderstorms and tornados.
"It's definitely a chance of severe weather, a severe weather risk no doubt worth paying attention to," Jared Guyer, a forecaster at the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center in Oklahoma, told the Associated Press.
All told, 2,450 flights were delayed on Wednesday as of 10 p.m. ET, according to the flight tracking service Flight Aware, and 674 flights were canceled. That’s out of roughly 25,000 daily flights into and out of the United States.
Regional airlines were most affected. Of the top four domestic airlines experiencing delays, Envoy, Republic and ExpressJet were among them. Chicago’s O’Hare International was the airport most affected, with five percent of its outbound flights canceled on Wednesday and 13 percent delayed.
Also as of 10 p.m., no major airline or airport, nor Amtrak rail service, had issued an advisory on delays in travel for Thursday.
More by Rich Thomaselli
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