No Snow Yet, but Midwest Still 'Freaking Out'
Residents, officials brace for storm early
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 1, 2011 6:38 AM CST
A person walks down the middle of a snow-covered road Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011, in St. Louis.   (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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(Newser) – That “potentially historic” winter storm hasn’t really started yet, but that didn’t stop Missouri from declaring a state of emergency. All across the Midwest, residents are preparing early—and, in some cases, enthusiastically—for the storm, with schools closing, airlines canceling flights, and emergency generators selling out as the first flakes were just barely hitting the ground. "I've never seen a prediction of what have you—rain, snow, ice, whatever—where people reacted so quickly to it," one store owner tells the AP.

In Missouri, where 600 National Guard members have already been activated, a dangerous mix of ice, sleet, and snow is predicted. Chicago, where one teacher says she’s “looking forward” to the idea of a snow day, could get record levels of snow. And in St. Louis, where up to two feet of snow could result in five- to 10-foot drifts, customers were already lined up at a hardware store by 7am yesterday to buy shovels, ice melt, and salt. Says an employee, “‘Freaking out’ is a great way of putting it.”