Storm threatens Midwest with heavy snow, travel disruptions

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In this Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021, photo provided by the California Highway Patrol-West Valley, authorities work the scene of an accident after a hail storm on Malibu Canyon Road in Malibu, Calif. A hail storm struck the Santa Monica Mountains on Saturday, prompting the California Highway Patrol to warn drivers to slow down after officers responded to a few rollover accidents on Malibu Canyon. Up to a foot of snow fell in Southern California's mountains as the first in a series of storms move through California, bringing real winter weather after weeks of sporadic rain that has done little to ease drought. (California Highway Patrol via AP)

OMAHA, Neb. – A major winter storm threatened to blanket parts of the middle of the country with more than a foot of snow Monday, promising to disrupt travel and forcing the closure of some coronavirus testing sites.

The National Weather Service said at least 4 inches (10 centimeters) of snow is expected across most of an area stretching from central Kansas northeast to Chicago and southern Michigan. Parts of southeast Nebraska and western Iowa could get more than three times that much by Tuesday morning.

Several coronavirus testing sites in Nebraska and Iowa were closing early Monday because of the snow. More than 10 inches (25 centimeters) of snow had already fallen in parts of eastern Nebraska by Monday evening.

National Weather Service meteorologist Taylor Nicolaisen said 10 to 15 inches (25 to 38 centimeters) of snow was likely between York, Nebraska, and Des Moines, Iowa, and that it has been at least 15 years since that area received more than a foot of snow in a single storm.

“This is historic snow,” said Nicolaisen, who is based near Omaha, Nebraska.

Many schools and businesses closed Monday as the storm moved across the region. In western Iowa, Missouri Valley Superintendent Brent Hoesing reworked the lyrics of the 1970s hit “I Will Survive” to tell students in his district to “So Stay Inside."

Officials urged drivers to stay off the roads during the storm, especially during the heaviest snowfall in the afternoon and evening. Nebraska State Patrol troopers responded to more than 200 weather-related incidents Monday.

“Do not travel unless it’s absolutely necessary,” said Nebraska State Patrol Col. John Bolduc.