Winter storms can cause widespread disruptions to society and lead to losses in both life and property. A December 22-23, 2004, storm that passed through southern Illinois and into the Ohio River Valley caused $900 million in losses and costs. All forms of transportation were disrupted by the widespread snow and ice. In total, 17 people died as a result of the storm.
These winter storms are the result of large low-pressure systems that pass through the Midwest during the winter months. These systems can be several hundred miles wide and cover wide areas with snow and sometimes freezing rain. High winds are typically associated with these systems as they bring colder air into the Midwest.