MADISON, Wis. (2/2/11)--Regional groundhogs, prognosticators of just how long winter will last, got a good dose of their own medicine the past two days. Credit unions and leagues throughout the Plains, Midwest, South and Northeast began closing Tuesday in preparation for the night's snow and ice storm, billed as "potentially historic." Much of the nation was in winter's grip last night. Winter watches were posted Tuesday for 31 states, from New Mexico to Maine--more than 2,000 miles, said USA Today
. A 2,100 mile path from the southern Plains to coastal New England was told to expect from a foot to 20 inches of snow. Just south of the area, another 1,500 mile stretch was expecting ice. The weather would affect nearly a third of the nation's population. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) closed its Madison, Wis., offices at 2 p.m. Tuesday so staff could beat the storm home. CUNA's Madison office remains closed today. As of midnight the city had acquired at least 12 inches of new snow amd was still under blizzard conditions. News Now
canvassed some leagues Tuesday to see how they were doing. A number reported closures, while others made contingency plans for today. All day long credit union folks from different regions checked in with each other, comparing weather notes. Their e-mails often ended with "stay warm," and "drive safe." Kansas Credit Union Association (KCUA) President/CEO Marla Marsh closed KCUA at 3 p.m., but its Expandacheck division still processed until 4 p.m. In Wichita, conditions were snowy and windy with winds of 35 mph and gusts up to 43 mph. Ten credit unions had closed "due to the inclement weather," said Susan Dyer, communications specialist, who was working remotely from home. They included:
* Emporia State FCU * CU Leavenworth County, which closed at noon; * First Choice CU, closed at noon; * Wakarusa Valley CU; * Campus CU; * USPLK Employees FCU; * Kansas Teachers Comm. CU * CU of Emporia; and * Meritrust, which closed at 2 p.m.
The Texas Credit Union League said its offices in Dallas would not open Tuesday and it would monitor conditions for today. The Dallas Fort-Worth airport canceled hundreds of flights. The Indiana Credit Union League and Servicecorp office closed at 3 p.m. Tuesday, and staff worked remotely because of "increasingly severe winter weather--a more intense ice storm moving into the Indianapolis area" and the "dangerous driving conditions around our office," said Kay Neidlinger, vice president of communications. The Missouri Credit Union Association (MCUA) said its St. Louis offices would open late today at 10 a.m. The Kansas City and Jefferson City offices remained closed due to the winter storm and snow accumulation, said Amy McLard, vice president of public/legislative affairs. MCUA was closed Tuesday although its League Item Processing Center was open until early afternoon. "They are closing shortly, however, to allow staff to get home before the snow piles on top of the icy mix." Many credit unions "either decided to close Monday night after Gov. Jay Nixon put the Missouri National Guard on alert to assist with weather related issues, or closed early today," she told News Now
. News reports said the area already had six inches of snow when the day began. The Credit Union League of Connecticut closed at noon, with staff working from home, said Ed Zagorski, director of communications. "As for tomorrow, we'll have to wait and see what happens." The Maine Credit Union League remained open, but Jon Paradise, governmental and public affairs manager, noted the region "is bracing for a bigger storm due tomorrow but, as of now, I am not aware of any closings." In Colorado, Timothy Dore, senior vice president of governmental affairs at the Credit Union Associations in Colorado and Wyoming, said the association was open Tuesday. He noted temperatures of -10 degrees and a windchill of -33, saying it was "too cold to snow more than a couple of inches." The Ohio Credit Union League was open for business yesterday, said Patrick Harris, director of media relations, adding he had not heard of any credit unions changing business operations and that precipitation had been less than expected so far. Most leagues were not making the decision on closures for today until this morning. Watch News Now
and its LiveWire for updates today.