A massive winter storm dubbed Astro, the first significant storm event of the 2014-15 season in the US, is causing problems across much of the United States. The big weather system that is being fueled by the remnants of Typhoon Nuri in Alaska is pushing frigid air and lots of snow into the mainland US, sending temperatures plunging and covering the ground with several inches and even feet of snow. Portions of the country could see temperatures 30 to 40 degrees colder than normal for this time of year as Astro is ushering in winter in a very dramatic way.
By Monday evening, heavy snow had fallen across the northern plains and into the upper Great Lakes with some areas getting more than a foot of white stuff. In portions of Minnesota and the upper peninsula of Michigan, nearly two feet of snow was already on the ground by Monday evening. Winter storm warnings were put into effect Sunday for portions of Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota with more warnings being issued elsewhere as the storm was bearing down on the Plains and Upper Midwest. The big winter storm is also dumping a wintry mix on many areas and bringing with it strong gusting winds, making it difficult to accurately measure how much precipitation is coming down.
In Minnesota, state police were kept very busy Monday responding to hundreds of traffic accidents and spinouts. Two people were reported killed in that state in weather-related car accidents. Just in the Twin Cities area alone, over 50 accidents happened during Monday morning’s rush hour as the roads there were slick and snow-covered. By 11 am, there was nearly a foot of snow on the ground in St. Augusta, MN, to make the afternoon commute home harrowing to say the least.
The big winter storm is unleashing its fury on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where by Monday evening, already over a foot of snow was on the ground. The winter storm warning that was put into effect Monday morning for the UP of Michigan is expected to remain in effect until as late as 10 am Wednesday morning. None of the state’s lower peninsula is included in that warning. Some of the higher elevations of the UP could see two feet of snow or more with Marquette possibly getting more than 31 inches before it’s all said and done.