CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — With snow in the Midwest and tornado threats in the southeast, storms are blanketing the U.S. this Christmas Eve.
A snow storm brought strong winds and bitter cold to the eastern Dakotas and western Minnesota early Wednesday, impacting holiday travel plans as it moves east.
National Weather Service officials forecast wind chills dropping to 35 F below zero, pushed by gusts of more than 60 mph. Many flights were grounded as numerous travel advisories urged motorists to stay off the road and several highways were shut down altogether.
The storm was centered in southeastern Minnesota and was expected to track steadily toward Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and northern Michigan by Wednesday night. The heaviest snow band stretched from the Iron Range in northeastern Minnesota back toward Watertown in eastern South Dakota, Gust said.
In Ohio, several northeastern counties anticipated snow totals from 8 to 14 inches. Winter weather advisories are in effect through Saturday, when Kwanzaa begins. NewsNation affiliate WJW reported that the blowing snow is expected to impact travel as well.
Meanwhile, parts of the South were under a tornado watch, as powerful storms whip through Georgia and Alabama.
A tornado watch covered parts of southern Alabama and the Florida panhandle early Thursday.
The same storm system would move into the Carolinas and parts of Virginia later Thursday, forecasters said. More than 4 million people in that region will be at an enhanced risk of severe storms Thursday, according to the national Storm Prediction Center.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.