January storm: Bitter cold, big snow, slippery runways

The latest blast of bitter cold weather began sweeping across the nation Sunday, ushering in plunging temperatures and snow on the heels of another weather event that forced closure of New York's Kennedy International Airport after a jet slid off a runway.

Heavy snow was falling in Indianapolis, Detroit and St. Louis, which could see a foot or more, AccuWeather senior meteorologist Tom Kines told USA TODAY. Chicago, where a Las Vegas-bound Spirit Airlines Airbus A319 with 141 passengers on board slid off a taxiway Saturday, also was being pounded.

Across the nation Sunday, almost 3,000 flights were canceled and more than 5,300 had been delayed, the website flightstats.com reported at 2 p.m. ET.

New York City and parts of the East were still wrestling with an earlier front that dumped a mix of snow, freezing rain and rain across much of the region. At Kennedy, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said the Delta Connection Flight 4100 landed safely shortly after 8 a.m. Sunday and was turning off the runway onto a taxiway when it slid into snow.

No injuries were immediately reported. The airport suspended flight operations because of icy runways for about two hours, but the airport itself never closed.

There will be little rest for the weather weary in the East. Kines said the bitter cold temperatures sweeping the Midwest will drive East Coast temperatures down through the day on Monday.

"Some place that could see temperatures near 50 early tomorrow could see single digits tomorrow night," Kines said.

In Orlando, Nan Connolly was enjoying shorts weather on Sunday, celebrating a break from "too-long summer" on the pool patio. But Kines warns that the latest cold front will push deep into the South. "A place like Orlando probably won't get out of the 40s on Tuesday," he said.

Those temperatures would be welcome relief to much of the Midwest, where temperatures dipped below zero in many areas. It was 15 degrees below in Watertown, S.D., early Sunday, Kines said. "You go up into parts of North Dakota and it was in the minus-20s. In some areas the wind chill is reaching minus-50. Just horrible."

Minnesota called off school Monday for the entire state — the first such closing in 17 years.

But not everyone in the Upper Midwest is fretting too much about the latest winter front. In Albert Lea, Minn., John Rosenberg is using old-school remedies to help mitigate cold concerns. He said he has fueled up his car to combat moisture in his gas tank and has fans pointed at his windows so moisture doesn't build up and freeze on the glass.

"I'm manning the curtains in the house, making sure to capture the sunlight during the day and closing them promptly at night to retain as much short wave radiation as possible," he said.

In Bismarck, N.D., Chad Schmidt wasn't complaining about the temperature of minus-13 degrees, or even the wind chill of minus-46. "Being from North Dakota, we are used to it... A tough breed," he said. "Just bundle up to go out."

Contributing: Associated Press


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