Up to 30 inches of new snow and intense cold iced roads and closed hundreds of schools Friday from the Rockies to the Appalachians and even forced postponement of a ceremony to dedicate an airport's new snow removal equipment.
Temperatures hit record lows in more than two dozen cities in Iowa, Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Michigan, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri and Illinois, and the wind chill effect at Moline, Ill., was 49 degrees below zero.
The official low for the lower 48 states was 30 degrees below zero at Chadron, Neb., and at 2 p.m. the temperature at Lemmon, S. D., was still only 11 below zero, the National Weather Service said.
"We're draining all the cold weather out of Alaska, the Northwest Territories and northern Canada," said National Weather Service forecaster James Vermoch in Chicago. "We're bringing it right down the pipe."
Up to 30 inches of snow fell in northeastern Wisconsin's Door County in two days, with 25 inches in the same period around Sheridan, Wyo.
Generally 3 to 6 inches fell during the night and through Friday from Kansas to West Virginia, with storm watches posted into today in the Northeast. And snow had begun falling from southwestern New York state to North Carolina and Tennessee. In addition to the heavy snow at Sheridan, Wyo., lesser amounts fell elsewhere in that state, and up to 18 inches fell in the Colorado Rockies.
Ski resort operators generally welcome snow, but heavy snow in Wyoming's Big Horn Mountains prevented the Antelope Butte ski resort from opening this weekend as planned, according to the resort's owners.
Schools were closed Friday in parts of Wyoming, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia. One Iowa school closed for lack of heat.
Numerous school, business, social and sporting events were canceled.
Authorities at the Wheeling-Ohio County Airport in West Virginia's northern panhandle had planned to dedicate $170,000 in snow removal equipment Friday, but that had to be postponed, airport manager Thomas Tominack said.
"Actually, the equipment is currently being utilized to clean the runways, and we can't really take the time to have the dedications," Tominack said. "Priorities are such that we need to get our runways clean."
Gusty north wind and the cold broke power lines in Kansas, blacking out more than 3,000 customers for a time in parts of Wichita and Leavenworth, utility executives said.
That wind created wind chill effects across Kansas of 25 below zero to 45 below.
Record lows included 26 below zero at Dickinson, N. D.; 19 below at Dubuque, Iowa, and 16 below at Burlington and Carroll, Iowa, and Concordia, Kan. The low of 15 below at Salina, Kan., bettered a record that had been on the books since 1901.