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Airlines Cancel, Waive Fees as Winter Storm Gia Strikes Midwest

Airlines Cancel, Waive Fees as Winter Storm Gia Strikes Midwest

Facing an insurmountable onslaught of snow, some commuters in the St. Louis area reportedly abandoned their vehicles - adding to the traffic mayhem resulting from the storm.

St. Louis registered just over a foot of snow, and the city of Columbia saw more than 2 feet of precipitation, according tothe National Weather Service.

"We have a strong snowstorm that's stretching 1,400 miles from Kansas to the East Coast", CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said.

Dozens of flights were canceled at St. Louis Lambert International Airport, which described the onslaught of snow, in a message on Twitter, as one of its biggest single-day winter storms in years.

The weather service issued a winter storm warning for areas of central and southern IL including Springfield, Champaign and Carbondale.

So far Missouri has had the worst of the snow, with more than a foot (30cm) on Saturday morning around St Louis and Jefferson City.




The storm hit Kansas and Missouri on Friday and continued pummeling those states on Saturday, as it extended into parts of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and OH, said U.S. Weather Prediction Center meteorologist Andrew Orrison.

Missouri's governor Mike Parson said on Twitter that he had been briefed by public safety agencies and warned drivers to stay off the roads "as our dedicated road and emergency crews continue to fight this storm".

In a tweet Saturday night, the patrol said it responded to 57 injuries, 878 crashes, 1,790 stranded motorists and 3,918 calls for service. Parts of the state had received up to 15 inches of snow by that point. The highest snowfall totals were in Montgomery City, Missouri, northwest of St. Louis, which was hit with 20 inches of snow. The Missouri State Highway Patrol says almost 300 vehicles had slid off roads across the state and more than 175 crashes had been reported by late Saturday morning. But it cited progress Saturday as crews worked to clear routes and bring "water and food to stranded motorists".

Almost 200,000 people were without electricity in Virginia and North Carolina on Sunday morning. Airports in Indianapolis and Kansas City, Missouri, also saw above-average cancellations as the storm tracked across the nation's midsection.

The University of Missouri men's basketball game Saturday at the University of SC was moved to Sunday because of weather-related travel problems, the team tweeted. Philadelphia is expected to receive a few inches of snow, but areas north of there are expected to be spared, Orrison said.

On the storm's southside, more heavy rain will fall on the already saturated South.

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