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'Heart attack snow,' sleet strike Chicago area

Feb. 26, 2013 at 4:49 PM   |   Comments

AMARILLO, Texas, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- "Heart attack snow" struck the Chicago area Tuesday, along with sleet and freezing rain, prompting a winter weather advisory.

A major winter storm made travel hazardous and grounded hundreds of flights, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The National Weather Service said in its advisory, "Snowfall rates in excess of an inch per hour could occur at times," with 3 to 6 inches by Wednesday morning. "This will likely be a heavy wet snow sometimes referred to as heart attack snow."

The newspaper said FlightStats reported nearly 500 flights had been canceled at O'Hare International Airport and 183 at Midway International Airport.

The Illinois State Police Chicago District instituted its emergency snow plan and Chicago's Streets and Sanitation Department deployed its entire fleet of 284 plows

Extra plows were being deployed to the 2nd Congressional District because of Tuesday's primary election.

The complex but powerful winter storm, after pounding the High Plains, expanded northeastward Tuesday from Missouri to Iowa and Illinois.

Hundreds of flights were canceled due to the storm and major highways were clogged.

Earlier, at the height of the storm, the National Weather Service said blizzard conditions punished the Central and Southern Plains. Blizzard warnings were issued for northern Texas through portions of western and central Oklahoma into southern Kansas.

The forecasters said the storm next will pivot toward the Northeast.

Though the storm is expected to deliver only rain to the coast, it is expected to cause an array of bad weather, from heavy snow to a wintry mix and rain inland and farther north, AccuWeather.com reported. Locally, the nature of the precipitation could change several times from rain to snow and back.

The worst of the storm was expected in southern New England, where a combination of melting snow and rain could lead to flooding.

Rain was forecast from Washington to Philadelphia to New York City, AccuWeather said, setting up the potential for travel delays into the night along the Interstate-95 corridor.

The report said much of the New York Thruway and Southern Tier Expressway in New York, as well as part of I-80 in Pennsylvania also could be affected by rain. On northern portions of I-95, much of I-92 and northern I-87 and I-91, a wintry mix could cause problems.

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