A strong weather front is moving through the Midwest on New Year's Eve, bringing rain, strong storms, and tornadoes to the lower portion of the Heartland. The upper portion is just getting warm temperatures, fog and drizzle.
Hidden Valley Resort, near St. Louis, had to close down for an hour-and-a-half earlier today due to the storms moving through, according to GM Bill Brandes.
"We had high winds and tornadoes in the area, but we came through just fine. We shut down for an hour-and-a-half due to the storms and winds, and there was some damage in the area," said the longtime general manager. "We are just starting up the lifts and people are anxious to get on the slopes. Our snowmaking crew has been busy, and we have plenty of snow to handle the adverse weather."
Chestnut Mountain, near Dubuque, was also handling the weather just fine, said marketing director Stewart Stofregen.
"We have plenty of snow, and we are just experiencing a little drizzle and rain today. It hasn't dampened the spirits of the crowd much, and hotel bookings have held up just fine," he said. "Tomorrow the cold air moves back in, and we will be firing up the snowguns again."
Storm alerts hung across Southern Illinois and were headed into southern Indiana and Ohio later today. Rain out in front of the system was light and not affecting Paoli Peaks in South-Central Indiana.
"We are fully open, and everyone seems to be having fun," said Heather who was manning the phone lines. "Conditions are springlike today, but colder weather is supposed to move in tonight and cool us right back down. There's plenty of snow on the slopes, and crowds have been good today."
Resorts farther north weren't experiencing much of a problem, except for some dreary weather.
"We had great crowds yesterday, and today, with the rain and drizzle, they are down a little; but our hotel reservations have held up without a problem. We've been booked the whole week," said Crystal Mountain public relations director Brian Lawson. "If we had to have an off day during the holidays, New Year's Eve is probably the best day with all we have scheduled."
"Day skiers have held up well today. We have only a couple of rooms left available for the weekend at both resorts," she said. "It's one of our busiest holiday periods ever, and the weather doesn't seem to be a concern."
The cold air wrapping back in around the system may present more of a problem for those trying to head home on Sunday, Jan. 2, as road surfaces may become slick and lake effect snow will kick in around the Great Lakes.