Blowy, snowy weather whipped through the upper Midwest Monday, hobbling travelers, closing schools and even delaying the traditional start of the Christmas season.
The storm that dumped nearly a foot of snow on Wisconsin prompted the mayor of West Bend to postpone his town’s tree-lighting ceremony. In Green Bay, 9 inches had fallen by late afternoon and “four-wheel drive was a blessing,” Mary Conard said after reaching her job at the Brown County Courthouse.
Throughout southern Wisconsin, banks, restaurants, other businesses and medical centers closed early, and some factories canceled second and third shifts.
Slush and ice blanketed Interstate 70 through Colorado’s Rockies, where wind blew 4 to 6 inches of snow into 2-foot drifts. The highway closed from Sunday afternoon until midnight, backing up traffic in Vail and other mountain communities and stranding skiers trying to get home from the holidays. Many hotels and motels were full.
“It’s snowing really hard and the roads, they’re really slick,” said Lori Garcia, forced to take a detour on her way from Pueblo to Rangely, Colo., on Sunday.
Several deaths were blamed on the storm, including two Sunday: a 72-year-old woman killed in a car crash in Minnesota and a 4-year-old passenger killed in a head-on collision with another vehicle in Colorado.
The gusty snowstorm combined with lightning to shut down Milwaukee’s Mitchell International Airport. About 5 inches of snow lay on the ground by afternoon, and more was falling as traffic snarled and crews struggled to reach the site of a reported broken water main.