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Ice storm descends on Midwest before heading east

Icy weather across parts of the Midwest affected roads and airports, particularly at O'Hare in Chicago, where nearly 200 flights were canceled. The Weather Channel's Mike Seidel reports.


A storm encased the Midwest in glistening ice on Sunday, forcing officials to cancel flights and closing roadways and threatening to tangle the start of the work week as freezing rains headed east. 

Hundreds of churches across Iowa called off Sunday services as sidewalks were turned to sheets of ice by the storm that meteorologists said had covered the Midwest in about a half-inch of ice by midday. 

Flights in and out of Chicago, Minneapolis and St. Louis were grounded on icy runways. 

The National Weather Service issued a freezing rain advisory for Chicago and the surrounding area for Sunday until 9 p.m. local time, when temperatures were expected to warm up enough to make it just rain. Until then, the weather service warned of dangerous conditions for driving and even walking. 

"Pockets of sleet, freezing rain and freezing drizzle are possible farther east late tonight into Monday morning from Buffalo, New York, to New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Roanoke, Virginia," meteorologist Brian Edwards said on Accuweather.com

Slick roadways were reported from South Sioux City, Nebraska, to Iowa, where numerous crashes were reported, according to the Iowa Department of Transportation. In Franklin County, Iowa, Interstate 35 was blocked by tractor trailers struggling to get a grip on treacherous surfaces. 

"Instant icing of windshields and roadway surfaces (as well as driveways, sidewalks and parking lots) can be expected in the areas with freezing temperatures," the Iowa DOT said. 

In Missouri, ramps to connecting Interstate 270, which circles the St. Louis area, to Interstate 70 were closed early Sunday morning because of ice, but were later reopened, said Marie Elliott, a spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Transportation. 

--Additional reporting by Reuters' Tim Bross in Missouri, Kay Henderson in Iowa and David Hendee in Nebraska; Editing by Edith Honan and Bill Trott.