A disruptive blizzard raged from eastern Colorado to Michigan this week, with many cities and towns setting new snow records and breaking record long streaks with no measurable snow.
Snow first broke out across the Southwest Tuesday night with several inches piling up in Flagstaff, Ariz. By Wednesday, the I-25 corridor of Colorado was in the midst of the winter storm with blizzard conditions at times.
A blizzard unfolded across the Plains and Midwest Wednesday into Thursday as the storm gathered more strength. Producing thundersnow at times, the tempest dumped over a foot of snow from Iowa to Wisconsin.
Heavy snow rates, significant blowing and drifting of snow with gusts higher than 50 mph caused the visibility to drop below 1/4 of a mile for many communities.
Linda Jones walks her daughters Sophie and Zoe to school as a blizzard dropped snow over Boulder, Colo., Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012. A storm that has dumped more than a foot of snow in the Rocky Mountains is heading east and is forecast to bring the first major winter storm of the season to the central Plains and Midwest. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
Hazardous to impossible travel conditions resulted from the raging blizzard, including along I-29, I-35, I-70, I-80, I-90 and I-94. Officials were forced to shut down portions of the heavily traveled I-35 due to extremely dangerous conditions.
A rapid freeze-up and snow snarled travel by ground north and west of Chicago, which ended a record streak of consecutive days with no measurable snow.
FlightStats.com reports more than 1,230 flights were delayed and more than 615 flights were canceled at Chicago O'Hare International Airport, mostly due to wind.
Tens of thousands of customers lost power from Kansas and Missouri to Michigan due to the high winds howling.
Places Ending Record Streaks With No Snow:
-Chicago, Ill., had 0.2 of an inch of snow through midnight, ending a record streak of 290 days without measurable snow. The old record was 280 days, set in 1994.
-Rockford, Ill., had 1.4 inches of snow, ending a streak of 290 days without measurable snow. The previous record streak was 287 days set in 1922.
Snowfall Records Set on Thursday:
-Gaylord, Mich., had 13.8 inches, smashing the record of 4.9 inches set in 2003.
-Madison, Wis., had 13.3 inches, smashing the record of 4.6 inches set in 2000.
-Marquette, Mich., had 11.9 inches, smashing the record of 7.2 inches set in 1976.
-Des Moines, Iowa, had 12.4 inches, breaking the record of 4.5 inches set in 1925.
-Waterloo, Iowa, had 4.5 inches, tying the record set way back in 1897.
Heaviest Snowfall Totals:
-7 miles southwest of Madison, Wis.: 20 inches
-Middleton, Wis.: 19.9 inches
-5 miles east of Gaylord, Mich.: 19.6 inches
-Kinross, Mich.: 18 inches
-Dafter, Mich.: 16.0 inches
-Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.: 16.0 inches
-Lovells, Mich.: 13.0 inches
-Neehah, Mich.: 11.7 inches
-Tigerton, Wis.: 11.5 inches
Big City Storm Totals:
-Madison, Wis.: 13.3 inches
-Des Moines, Iowa: 12.4 inches
-Green Bay, Wis.: 9.7 inches
-Omaha, Neb.: 5.9 inches
Content contributed by AccuWeather Meteorologist Dan DePodwin.
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