Tens of thousands of Iowans have lost power on Thursday as the first major winter storm of the season, dubbed ‘Draco’, moves across the Midwest.
The National Weather service has issued a blizzard warning for a wide-ranging slice of the Midwest, from eastern Colorado to the shoreline of Lake Michigan in Wisconsin. The report warns of heavy snow and strong winds to a large portion of the Great Lakes region Thursday and Friday, with up to 12 inches of accumulated snow and 25- to 35-mph winds that may flare up to 45- to 50-mph. Residents in Door County, Wisconsin may experience gusts of up to 60mph.
Some 30,000 people do not have access to electricity in Iowa, mostly in the Des Moines area, MidAmerican Energy told CNN.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has preemptively declared a state of emergency and mobilized the National Guard, state police and other agencies to deal with emergencies. The National Weather Service has encouraged those in the storm area to refrain from driving motor vehicles.
Few airlines are reporting cancellations, but expect delays beginning Thursday.
U.S. Highway 6 in Colorado is closed at LovelandPass, while a 156-mile stretch of Interstate Highway 70 between Denver and the Kansas border were closed for a period of time Wednesday, according to various transportation agencies. U.S. Highway 385 was closed in the Cheyenne Wells territory Wednesday, but reopened Thursday.
Draco will move into the Northeast by Friday, after hitting the Midwest with a “strong dose of rain, sleet and snow, with a few hail-packing thunderstorms thrown in for good measure,” also according to CNN. Depending on wind and other weather conditions, snow drifts may reach several feet in some areas.
The Indiana-Ohio-Michigan tri-state area, Missouri, and Kansas have currently been put under a winter weather advisory.