1 of 2 | A massive winter storm hammered much of the country on Thursday, causing power outages, road closures and flight cancellations. Photo courtesy of Minnesota Department of Transportation/Facebook
Feb. 23 (UPI) -- The massive winter storm that continued to hammer much of the country on Thursday caused power outages stretching from California to New York, along with road closures from Wisconsin to Michigan.
Michigan led the way with 739,548 customers without power as a result of the storm, followed by Illinois (83,636), Wisconsin (58,460), California (43,338) and New York (26,241), according to the website PowerOutage.us,
"Twelve hours of freezing rain and ice have caused trees and tree limbs to break power lines across SE Michigan," Michigan energy company DTE said on Facebook Thursday morning.
"Please do not let your children or pets outside unsupervised and do not go near a downed wire or anything a downed wire touches. Downed wires can be hidden in debris or may look like a stick to children or pets, so please be extremely careful today."
Consumer Energy, another Michigan power company, reported outages from Monroe County and southeastern Michigan to Kalamazoo County in western Michigan.
The storm also caused problems for air travel with 878 flights within, into or out of the United States canceled and another 2,162 delayed,according to FlightAware.com,
As of Thursday morning, 30% of flights originating from Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport was grounded, along with 23% at the Portland International Airport in Oregon, 23% at the Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport, 24% at the Buffalo-Niagra International Airport, and 18% at the Gerald Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Things weren't much better for travelers on the ground, with the Wyoming Highway Patrol urging motorists not to travel because of hazardous conditions and rescue crews stretched thin.
Minnesota State Patrol reported that from Wednesday night to Thursday morning, it had responded to 36 crashes,107 vehicle spinoff incidents and one jackknifed tractor-trailer.
While some parts of California are under their first blizzard warnings since 1989, the National Weather Service is also predicting record-breaking warmth expected over the East going through Thursday.
Temperatures in the Ohio Valley, the Mid-South, Gulf Coast, Southeast and southern Mid-Atlantic could reach as much as 30 to 40 degrees above normal for this time of the year. Some temperatures could reach heights of 80 degrees and potentially exceed monthly records for February.