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Colossal storm hits US heartland

world Updated: Feb 03, 2011 01:46 IST
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A massive winter storm roared into America's heartland, carrying a paralyzing punch of dangerous ice and snow that shut down airports, schools, colleges and government officies. Large sections of busy Midwest interstate highways were closed by a storm billed as the worst in decades.

Ice-covered streets were deserted in Super Bowl host city Dallas. Whiteouts shut down Oklahoma City and Tulsa. And more was on the way. Chicago expected 2 feet of snow, Indianapolis an inch of ice, and the Northeast still more ice and snow in what's shaping up to be a record winter for the region. The system that stretched more than 2,000 miles from Texas to Maine, across a third of the country, promised to leave in its aftermath a chilly cloak of teeth-chattering cold, with temperatures in the single digits or lower.

Winds topped 60 mph in Texas. In Chicago, public schools called a snow day for the first time in 12 years, and both major airports gave up on flying until at least Wednesday afternoon. Thousands of office workers in Chicago's famous downtown Loop district left early to avoid any transit troubles. The storm also led Chicago officials to close the city's busy and iconic Lake Shore Drive while crews tried to plow snow Tuesday night. City officials said the move was temporary but that they could have to close it again.