Winter storm pounding Midwest blamed for 2 deaths

Winter Storm Warning is in effect for Wednesday into Wednesday night

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The National Weather Service said heavy snow is forecast to move into upstate NY and New England by early Saturday, Reuters reported. The upper Midwest is preparing for a wintry blast as a winter storm is expected across the region, with forecasters saying up to a foot of snow is expected in some areas.

The Great Lakes region was expected to see additional snowfall over the weekend, while the current storm was forecast to move eastward to upstate NY and New England regions by Saturday.

The first phase of what is expected to be the could move into some parts of the Chicago area, particularly south and west, on Thursday evening during rush hour.

In addition, more than a thousand flights were canceled at the city's airports, and transportation agencies were warning commuters of the storm's impact.

FlightAware.com, which tracks airline traffic, said about 1,050 US flights were canceled, with about one in five flights into or out of Chicago and Detroit airports called off, per Reuters.

Airlines warned of more cancelations to come at neighboring airports, and allowed passengers to change flight reservations without fees.

Schools were closed in both cities and multiple vehicle crashes were reported on icy roads.

Court closures were reported in Chicago and Detroit, and driver's licence offices were shut in the Chicago area.

A couple walk past steam from a local business along Sheffield Ave., as a winter storm makes its way through several Midwest states Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, in Chicago.

A winter storm moving across the Great Lakes which is forecast to drop about a foot of snow in some areas has created treacherous driving conditions, closed schools and forced the cancellation of hundreds of flights. Still, the city experienced dozens of auto crashes Thursday evening and early Friday.

"It's too early quite yet to call it over", Chicago weather service meteorologist Todd Kluber said.

Several of the states expecting the heaviest snowfall are now issuing storm warnings, including in Ohio, Michigan, Northern Indiana, Northern Illinois, Southern Wisconsin, and Eastern Iowa, and thousands of flights have been canceled. People should stay off the roads if possible, but if they drive they should expect delays and hazardous conditions.

The expectation of up to 12 inches around Chicago prompted officials to close the city's public schools to about 390,000 students on Friday.

Some outer suburbs of the Chicago metropolitan area had already reached or were near nine inches of snow Friday afternoon. Schools across Nebraska and Iowa also closed or delayed the start of classes.

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