Midwest gets first major snowstorm of warm winter

January 12, 2012 - 4:25 PM
APTOPIX Winter Weather

A man clears snow from a sidewalk in downtown Champaign, Ill., Thursday morning, Jan. 12, 2012. Many parts of Illinois were receiving their first significant snowfalls of the winter Thursday with anywhere from an inch to several inches expected. (AP Photo/David Mercer)

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The first major Midwest snowstorm in an unseasonably warm winter is slowing traffic from St. Louis to Milwaukee and bringing badly-needed business to ski areas and idled snow plow operators.

The storm dumped snow on northwestern Wisconsin on Thursday before moving east to blanket Milwaukee and Chicago. A winter storm warning was in effect for the Windy City, which was expected to get up to eight inches of snow by Friday morning.

Such a storm would hardly register in almost any other year in an area used to snow before Thanksgiving. But La Nina effects have kept cold air bottled up over Canada, contributing to the Midwest's unusually warm winter.