CHICAGO — Spring storms made for a soggy weekend from the Great Plains to the Gulf Coast, knocking out power to thousands in Chicago and, in a twist from Mother Nature, covering the Texas Panhandle with a foot of snow that melted less than a day later under balmy 70-degree weather.
Snow and sleet struck overnight Sunday in Illinois, where ComEd reported about 45,000 customers lost power. The National Weather Service said half a foot of snow fell north of Chicago, and O’Hare International Airport reported more than 75 flights canceled.
Freezing rain and more snow were expected in Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsula, where the weather service in Gaylord predicted up to two inches of snow on top of the five to eight that fell over the weekend. A winter weather advisory was issued for parts of the Lower Peninsula.
In Amarillo, Texas, where as much as 11 inches of snow fell in a blizzard that started Thursday, most of the snow had melted less than 24 hours later in 70-degree weather. Meteorologist Chris Kimble with the weather service said flash flooding wasn’t expected because the snow didn’t contain a lot of moisture.
Kimble also said temperatures in the Texas Panhandle, which was under a foot of snow this weekend, were expected to be in the low 70s today.
The spring storm brought an unexpected taste of winter to the region where average temperatures in March are in the mid-60s. At the height of the storm, authorities in Dalhart rescued 136 stranded motorists, Dalhart Fire Chief and Emergency Management Coordinator Curtis Brown told the Amarillo Globe-News for its Sunday online edition.
Two deaths were reported in Kansas over the weekend as a blizzard buried parts of the state in ice, slush and up to two feet of snow. A 72-year-old man shoveling snow died of a heart attack Saturday and a 58-year-old woman was killed Friday in a car accident.
The system also prompted a disaster declaration in Kansas and was blamed for two traffic deaths in Oklahoma.