AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Airlines canceled hundreds of flights, governors urged residents to stay off roads and schools closed campuses as a huge swath of the U.S. braced for a major winter storm that was set to put millions of Americans in the path of heavy snow and freezing rain.
The approaching blast of frigid weather, which was expected to begin arriving Tuesday night, put a long stretch of states from New Mexico to Vermont under winter storm warnings and watches. More than a foot of snow was possible in Michigan, on the heels of a vicious nor’easter last weekend that brought blizzard conditions to many parts of the East Coast.
“It will be a very messy system and will make travel very difficult,” said Marty Rausch, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in College Park, Maryland.
The projected footprint of the storm extended as far south as Texas, where nearly a year after a catastrophic freeze buckled the state’s power grid in one of the worst blackouts in U.S. history, Gov. Greg Abbott defended the state’s readiness. The forecast does not call for the same prolonged and frigid temperatures as the February 2021 storm and the National Weather Service said the approaching system would, generally, not be as bad this time for Texas.