Freezing rains and high winds are expected to push deeper into the South on Thursday. Meanwhile, South Dakota and nearby states are prepping for more snow. The Weather Channel's Chris Warren reports.
A vast storm system Wednesday night may bring snow from eastern South Dakota into northeast Nebraska, northwest Iowa, and central and southern Minnesota, to include the Twin Cities, The Weather Channel reported. Four to eight inches of snow could fall Wednesday night alone in the Sioux Falls to Minneapolis corridor.
Light snow could reach as far east as northern Wisconsin, The Weather Channel reported.
Farther east, in upstate New York, Buffalo could see a brief period of freezing rain Thursday morning.
Earlier Wednesday, the storm pounded the Dakotas with snow, coated Oklahoma with rare spring ice and took aim at parts of the Mid-Atlantic and South.
Snow, freezing rain and strong winds snapped trees, broke power poles and left cars sheathed in ice in South Dakota, and the city of Sioux Falls declared a state of emergency.
Farther south — and much more unusually — ice coated roads in Oklahoma, all the way down to the Red River border with Texas.
“For April, that is really amazing,” said Tom Niziol, a meteorologist and winter weather expert for The Weather Channel.
It all made for a messy day of travel in the Great Plains and the Midwest. Chicago O’Hare, a hub airport for the central United States, reported almost 500 flight cancellations.
Dirk Lammers / AP
Icy branches partially block a city street and fall amid parked cars in Sioux Falls, S.D.
As the storm system lumbers eastward, powerful thunderstorms are expected later Wednesday and overnight in Pennsylvania and Maryland, including Philadelphia and its suburbs.
It has been unusually cold this week in the West and unseasonably warm in the East, including temperatures pushing 90 degrees Wednesday in Washington. That warm air makes the weather system more dangerous.
“There will be more than enough fuel for these storms,” said Carl Parker, another meteorologist for The Weather Channel.
A line of late-day storms was expected to sweep across Arkansas on Wednesday afternoon, threatening to dump damaging hail and perhaps spawn tornadoes before pushing out of the state in the evening.
The same storm system has already produced bizarre weather elsewhere in the country.
Earlier this week, the temperature fell 55 degrees in Denver in less than 24 hours. Gusty wind nudged 21 cars of a freight train off the tracks in Nebraska. And snowflakes the size of cotton balls fall in Marshall, Minn., NBC affiliate KARE in Minneapolis reported.
This story was originally published on Wed Apr 10, 2013 6:32 AM EDT