Ice storm encases Midwest, heads east for start of workweek

Sidewalks, streets and airport runways became sheets of ice after a storm dropped freezing rain across the Midwest.

A storm encased the Midwest in glistening ice Sunday, forcing officials to cancel flights and closing roadways and threatening to tangle the start of the workweek as freezing rains headed east.

Hundreds of churches across Iowa called off Sunday services as sidewalks were turned to sheets of ice by the storm that meteorologists said had covered the Midwest in about a half an inch of ice by midday.

Flights in and out of Chicago, Minneapolis and St. Louis were grounded on icy runways.

The National Weather Service issued a freezing rain advisory for Chicago and the surrounding area for Sunday until 9 p.m. when temperatures were expected to rise. Until then, the NWS warned of dangerous conditions for driving and walking.

"Pockets of sleet, freezing rain and freezing drizzle are possible farther east late tonight into Monday morning from Buffalo, N.Y., to New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Roanoke, Va.," meteorologist Brian Edwards said on Accuweather.com.

Slick roadways were reported from South Sioux City, Neb., to Iowa where numerous crashes were reported, according to the Iowa Department of Transportation. In Franklin County, Iowa, Interstate 35 was blocked by tractor trailers struggling to get a grip on treacherous surfaces.

Instant icing of windshields, roads, driveways, sidewalks and parking lots was expected in areas with freezing temperatures, the Iowa DOT said.

In Missouri, ramps to connecting Interstate 270, which circles the St. Louis area, to Interstate 70 were closed early Sunday because of ice, but reopened later, said Marie Elliott, a spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Transportation.

Additional reporting by Tim Bross, Kay Henderson and David Hendee.

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