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Storm unleashes record snow in Midwest, East

February 2, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
In the Midwest and Northeast, a monster storm unleashed record snow, dangerous ice and fierce winds on Wednesday. Entire interstates were shut down, and the National Guard was even called out in Oklahoma to help stranded drivers.

Latest developments

  • The 20.2 inches of snow that fell by midday in Chicago made the storm the city's third-largest on record, with still more coming down.
  • Chicago closed its public schools for the first time in 12 years and shut down Lake Shore Drive, where hundreds of motorists were stranded for 12 hours after multiple car accidents on the iconic roadway.
  • New York City was expected to get up to three-quarters of an inch of ice before the mix of sleet and freezing rain warms up to rain.
  • More than 5,500 flights in or out of the U.S. were canceled as of 11 a.m. Wednesday, according to flight-tracking service FlightAware. Most were scratched well in advance of the fast-moving storm.

The Midwest was hit hard by what is being called the worst blizzard in decades.

More than 200,000 homes and businesses in Ohio began Wednesday without power, while in excess of 100,000 customers had no electricity in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, which were hit with mostly freezing rain and ice.

Rolling blackouts were implemented across Texas, including in Super Bowl host city Dallas, due to high demand during a rare ice storm.

The outages would not affect Cowboys Stadium in suburban Arlington, said Jeamy Molina, a spokeswoman for utility provider Oncor. But other Super Bowl facilities, such as team hotels, were not exempt, she said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.