Winter storms bring bitter cold and snarl air travel ahead of weekend

Subzero temperatures and blizzard conditions are forecast across the U.S. Friday night and through the weekend.
Posted at 1:21 PM, Jan 12, 2024

Large areas of the Midwest and Plains are bracing for the coldest weather of the season thus far with some regions experiencing dangerous wind chills and blizzard conditions. 

At least two deaths occurred during the latest stormy conditions.

One man is believed to be dead after an avalanche struck in Ohio's backcountry. Two other men were rescued from the site of the avalanche, with assistance from the U.S. Air Force.

And the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s office is investigating after a man in Wisconsin died while he was clearing his driveway of snow.

Blizzard warnings were in effect for southwestern Minnesota and the Green Bay area of Wisconsin.

In Chicago, wind chills sank below zero, and in North Dakota forecasters warned temperatures could reach 20 below over the weekend.

Arctic air could reach into the Southern U.S. by Saturday, forecasters said. Officials in Mississippi warned residents to be ready for ice and possible power outages. Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry declared a state of emergency, anticipating cold temperatures and possible snow.

Iowa voters could face wind chill of minus 45 on caucus day
People stand on an large snow pile in Oskaloosa, Iowa

Iowa voters could face wind chill of minus 45 on caucus day

This weekend is set to bring blizzard conditions and dangerous wind chills to Iowa just before Iowans help pick the next GOP nominee.


Impact to travel

Flight delays and cancellations were popping up throughout the Midwest on Friday. According to FlightAware, More than 2,200 flights across the U.S. have been canceled for Friday and more than 7,300 flights experienced some delay. At Chicago O'Hare, 40% of the flights on Friday have been canceled. There have already been more than three dozen flight cancellations scheduled for Saturday, as well. 

Across town, Midway reported that 59% of flights on Friday are canceled. 

Chicago braced for 3-5 inches of snow and up to 45 mph winds on Friday. 

Similarly, Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport reported 41% of its flights being canceled on Friday as the city prepares for over 4 inches of snow by Saturday afternoon. 

Des Moines' airport had 60% of its flights for Friday canceled. Much of Iowa is bracing for blizzard conditions as the National Weather Service is warning residents to only travel in emergency situations. 

NFL games could be impacted

There are six NFL Playoff games scheduled for the weekend, and two of them in particular could be strongly affected. Saturday night's game in Kansas City between the Chiefs and Dolphins could be among the coldest playoff games on record. 

Kansas City is under a wind chill warning this weekend after getting blasted with snow on Friday. The National Weather Service forecast for Kansas City Saturday night is calling for sub-zero temperatures at kickoff with wind chills dropping to minus 25 by the end of the game. At those wind chills, frostbite could occur within 30 minutes, the National Weather Service says. 

On Sunday, the Bills host the Steelers amid a major winter storm. The National Weather Service is predicting over a foot of snow to fall this weekend as winds could top 60 mph. The wind chill in Buffalo on Sunday will range between 5 and 10 degrees. 

Iowa caucus voters to experience extreme cold

In Iowa, where Republican presidential candidates are preparing for Monday's caucuses, a blizzard warning was in effect on Friday. The campaigns for Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis both canceled or postponed some events.

If the forecast holds, it will mark the coldest Iowa caucuses on record.