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National Weather Service: Storm Covered 30 States

Megan Lynch
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A satellite image from the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration shows areas of high atmospheric moisture (colored in shades of blue) of a winter storm as it moved across the Midwestern U.S., Jan. 31, 2011. (NOAA/Getty)

A satellite image from the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration shows areas of high atmospheric moisture (colored in shades of blue) of a winter storm as it moved across the Midwestern U.S., Jan. 31, 2011. (NOAA/Getty)

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WASHINGTON D.C. (KMOX) – From tornado warnings in the south to the ice and snow that blasted Missouri and surrounding states, the National Weather Service says the system that swept across the country was massive in scale.

The ice and snow are now pounding the northeast U.S.

During a national conference call monitored by KMOX Radio, NWS Deputy Director Laura Furgione says many parts of the midwest are now dealing with bitter cold and high winds.

The Chicago area is under a wind chill watch overnight.  Winds there are expected to reach 70 miles per hour — hurricane strength.   “That’s causing blizzard warnings in those areas.  And it’s not due to snow that’s falling but it’s due to snow that’s blowing and drifting,” explains Furgione.  Furgione says Chicago has seen snow drifts ten feet tall and higher.

Officials with FEMA say they’re working with the Red Cross there to establish warming shelters and distribute generators to critical businesses.

The Weather Service was asked during the conference about slowdowns of its web site .  Furgione says they were getting 10 to 20 million hits an hour because of the size of the weather system, compared to the normal 70 million hits a day.

Copyright KMOX Radio

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