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Midwest braces for what could be worst winter storm in 40 years

by Jorge Hernandez on February 1, 2011

Meteorologists have been forecasting Tuesday's winter storm well ahead of time, warning residents across the Midwest and Northeast to prepare for what could be the worst winter storm the country has seen in 40 years.

"This is not something that's sneaking up on us. It's been well-forecasted. We know it's going to be bad…prepare like it's bad," Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate told ABC News.

The storm, which has been described as potentially life-threatening, is set to bring heavy snow, ice and freezing temperatures to at least one third of the continental U.S., and is expected to dump up to two feet of snow across the 2,100 miles between New Mexico and Maine, the news source reports.

Nine states have issued blizzard warnings, and another 30 have issued winter storm warnings or advisories, with the worst-affected cities to include Oklahoma City, Kansas City, St. Louis, Detroit, Des Moines, Chicago and Milwaukee.

CNN reports that the Central Plains and Midwest are experiencing white-out conditions and that residents have been strongly advised against traveling. Officials have issued warnings to stock up on food, batteries and medical supplies as well.

Freezing temperatures are expected on Wednesday and will create icy conditions, wind gusts and record low temperatures.

According to Reuters, the Chicago metro area could receive wind gusts of up to 50 miles per hour, and is bracing for its worst winter storm since 1967. The city will be using its entire fleet of 274 snow trucks as well as garbage trucks fitted with plows.

Many cities have already spent their seasonal budgets for clearing the roads of snow.

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