(NEW YORK) — A massive storm bringing heavy snow and blizzard conditions is hitting the U.S. right as the holiday travel rush gets underway.
Over 2,200 flights are canceled in the U.S. so far on Thursday. Chicago and Denver are seeing the most cancellations.
Blizzard warnings are in effect in the Dakotas, Minneapolis, Des Moines, Grand Rapids and Buffalo.
Philadelphia schools will be closed on Friday due to the weather.
“This is really a very serious weather alert,” President Joe Biden warned Thursday. “Please take this storm extremely seriously.”
Here’s the latest forecast:
The storm is barreling across the Midwest and Great Lakes on Thursday.
St. Louis, Chicago, Indiana and Michigan will see the brunt of the blinding snow and high winds.
Although only a few inches of snow is expected for most of the Midwest, the combination of the snow, wind and brutal cold will make travel extremely dangerous. Michigan could see the most snow, with 1 foot possible in some areas.
The Illinois State Police is urging people to stay home.
“The snow, wind and bitter cold are headed our way creating hazardous roadways today and tomorrow,” police tweeted Thursday. “If you must travel because of an emergency, please slow down, remain vigilant, and Don’t Crowd the Plow!”
Bombogenesis — or a “bomb cyclone” — is forecast Thursday night into Friday when the storm rapidly strengthens over the Great Lakes.
Blizzard conditions will continue in the Great Lakes into Friday. The blowing snow will cause very low visibility making travel nearly impossible.
Heavy rain will invade the Northeast starting Thursday afternoon, causing a dangerous travel day.
The worst of the heavy rain will hit the Northeast late Thursday night and extend overnight.
A flood watch has been issued for Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Albany, New York, and Portland, Maine, where some areas could see 2 to 4 inches of rain in a short period of time.
The strongest winds will arrive in the Northeast Friday morning, with winds gusts possibly topping 60 mph. The pounding winds could cause widespread power outages and major airport delays.
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