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  • ‘Widespread hazardous travel conditions’ expected
  • Between 6in and 12in of snow likely as storm moves east

Cows huddle close together to keep warm at a farm near Winterset, Iowa

Cows huddle close together to keep warm at a farm near Winterset, Iowa
Photograph: Bryon Houlgrave/AP

A winter storm that brought snow and sleet to the Midwest and Plains created travel headaches on Saturday as airlines canceled flights and officials closed major roads.

The storm began moving on Friday, leading to trouble at airports in Chicago in Kansas City.

According to the federal National Weather Service (NWS), the “deepening” storm was set to move “across the Central Plains [and] will move north-east into the Great Lakes on Saturday and into northern New York state and New England on Sunday”.

Between 6in and 12in of snow were possible under the storm’s “widespread footprint”, the NWS said.

“Strong winds on the north-west side of this storm are expected to produce blizzard conditions into Saturday afternoon across the eastern half of North Dakota, the eastern half of South Dakota, far western Minnesota and north-west Iowa,” a forecast said.

“Winds across these regions may gust to over 50mph, producing considerable blowing and drifting of snow and life-threatening travel conditions.”

It added: “Overall, this storm has the potential to produce widespread hazardous conditions across much of the north-eastern quarter of the nation over the next day and a half.”

For southern New England it would be the first significant snowfall of the winter, with up to half a foot expected in many areas of Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Parts of New York state could get up to a foot of snow.

On Saturday blizzard conditions were reported in some areas and officials in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa urged people to stay inside.

Officials closed hundreds of miles of Interstate 29 from Grand Forks, North Dakota to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. A stretch of Interstate 94 from Fargo, North Dakota to Bismarck, North Dakota was also closed and farther west in Wyoming, officials closed down stretches of Interstate 80 as a precaution.

The danger was highlighted by dashcam video recorded from a delivery truck and made public by the Iowa state patrol.

The video showed a state trooper and a person involved in a crash on Interstate 80 near Council Bluffs on Friday looking at the damage. Another truck then lost control and barrelled into the crash scene, barely missing the trooper and other man.

On Friday night, the Federal Aviation Administration halted all flights in and out of Chicago’s O’Hare Airport for several hours, and a plane slid off an icy taxiway at Kansas City International Airport.

The Chicago Department of Aviation reported about 200 cancellations at O’Hare on Saturday morning out of nearly 2,000 total flights, and the FAA said some flights were being delayed because of the weather.

After the storm, temperatures were expected to drop to the single digits and even below 0F (-18C) in parts of the Plains and Midwest.

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