Authorities have reportedly announced at least 11 fatalities due to the passage of Winter Storm Isaiah through several central-eastern and north-eastern states as of the evening (local time) on Saturday, January 11. Approximately 268,372 people are affected by power outages across 10 states as of 21:35 on Saturday. The Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson declared a state of emergency on Saturday to help crews working to restore power, and Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant also announced a state of emergency to support recovery efforts.
Flight disruptions are ongoing on Saturday evening at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport (ORD) and its Midway International Airport (MDW). The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) confirmed that authorities at ORD have implemented a traffic management program for arriving flights, causing delays averaging six hours. As of Saturday evening, ORD and MDW have canceled around 1200 flights due to the severe winter weather. Airport authorities are advising travelers to confirm their flight status with their airline. The storm is expected to affect airports in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Arkansas, Wisconsin, and Kansas states on Sunday, January 12.
The National Weather Service (NWS) forecasts gusty winds behind the storm across a large portion of the eastern US, and between 2.5-3 cm (1-2 in) of heavy rain across the southeast, the eastern Great Lakes, and northern New England. Severe weather is expected in parts of the Lower Mississippi Valley and Tennessee Valley through Saturday night, capable of producing tornadoes and damaging winds. The NWS forecasts snow accumulations between 15-30 cm (6-12 in) across northern Michigan, with moderate to heavy snow over the Intermountain West and Northern/Central Rockies to continue through Monday, January 13. The NWS warns of severe thunderstorms, with accompanying hail, damaging winds, flooding and tornadoes. Meteorologists have advised individuals in the aforementioned areas to turn on their smartphone weather notifications, as they may only have a short time to react to fast-moving storms.
Associated power outages and disruptions to transportation and business services are anticipated in areas forecast to be affected by the storm system over the coming days.
Individuals in areas forecast to be affected by the storm are advised to monitor local weather reports, prepare for winter weather, anticipate transportation disruptions, including flight delays and cancelations and adverse driving conditions, and power outages, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.