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Storm impacts flights, arctic blast on the way

Posted at 10:18 PM, Dec 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-11 22:18:45-05

A winter storm moving through the Great Lakes region dumped snow in the Midwest and led to the cancellation of more than 1,400 flights Sunday in Chicago.

In nearby Detroit, a plane slid off a runway into the grass and snow.

Parts of the nation felt the effects of the cold weather on Sunday, as another arctic blast is expected to hit just about half the country this week.

“Not only are we seeing a one-two punch of arctic air, we will see a third punch of arctic air,” said Haley Brink, a meteorologist with CNN Weather. “And until the Great Lakes freeze over, we will continue to see heavy lake-effect snow now impacting these areas.”

Another storm system will bring more lake-effect snow through Monday, resulting in the first major snowstorm of the year for the Great Lakes and Northeast, Brink said.

That system could dump an additional 3 to 6 inches of snow from the Great Lakes to New York and central and northern New England, she said.

Higher amounts of snowfall, up to a foot, are expected locally downwind of the Great Lakes and into portions of the Northeast, according to Brink.

Snowy weather caused damage in parts of the country

In Fowlerville, Michigan, a 40-car pileup Thursday on Interstate 96 killed at least three people.

On Saturday, about 100 light-rail passengers were stranded in the cold and dark after a high-voltage power line tumbled on the tracks as an ice storm struck Portland, Oregon.

Passengers were stuck for at least three hours before firefighters could rescue them early Saturday, CNN affiliate KATU-TV reported. No one was injured.

According to, more than 1,200 flights were canceled at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and close to 200 were canceled at Midway as inclement weather hit the city. The National Weather Service had a winter storm warning in effect through Sunday evening for Chicago.

‘You could feel it slide’

Shortly before noon on Sunday, Delta Flight 274 inbound from Buffalo, New York, skidded off the runway after it landed at Detroit Metropolitan Airport, CNN affiliate WXYZ reported.

“It had landed and it was in the process of turning off the runway and onto a taxi runway when it left the runway and went into the grass and snow,” Delta spokesman Anthony Black said.

Isaac Price, a passenger aboard Flight 274, told CNN the plane seemed to be landing fine “and then you could feel it slide and it went into the bushes.”

“Everyone wasn’t exactly sure what was going on but we were pretty calm. There were no announcements from the pilot and flight crew until we abruptly stopped in the snowy grass,” said Price, who was traveling with his brother, returning from the MLS Cup championships in Toronto.

Price added: “They told us to stay seated and then firetrucks came racing, and they were trying to figure out if they could tow the plane. That didn’t work so they ended up opening the back of the plane and they put us on buses to take us back to the terminal.”

Price said the whole process took about an hour and he and his brother missed their connecting flight to Seattle.

Black said 65 passengers and five crew members were on board the MD-88 aircraft, which was about half full. No one was hurt.

Brink said Detroit recorded 6.5 inches of snow on Sunday.

More snow

Lake-effect snow started Thursday along the southern and eastern shores of the Great Lakes and lasted through Saturday morning.

Brink said the system that is bringing more snow from the Great Lakes to the northeast may change to rain by Monday afternoon, as high temperatures climb above freezing.

Despite Monday’s snowfall, the east coast could see close to average temperatures for this time of year, which are highs in the upper 30s to low-40s, she said.

The next arctic blast on Tuesday will start in the northern plains and affect the Midwest by Wednesday, stretching down to the southeast, Brink said. Temperatures in the Midwest will be 20 to 30 degrees below normal high temperatures Wednesday into Thursday, she said.

Brink said by Thursday, high temperatures for the Southeast could be 10 to 15 degrees below normal.

According to meteorologist Ryan Maue, the upper-level atmosphere configuration looks similar in scale and magnitude to the January 2014 “polar vortex” that left the country in below-average temperatures for days.