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Blizzard conditions, from Kansas to Wisconsin, close schools (+video)

The first major snowstorm of the season shuttered schools in Missouri, and cut power to 30,000 people in Iowa. Chicago, Milwaukee, and Michigan are expecting as much as a foot of snow Thursday.

By Barbara Rodriguez and John MilburnAssociated Press / December 20, 2012


Des Moines, Iowa

The Midwest's first major snowstorm of the season was sweeping across several states early Thursday, shuttering schools, creating treacherous roadways and threatening to slow down one of the nation's busiest airports ahead of the holiday weekend.

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Forecasters warned that heavy snowfall coupled with strong winds would create blizzard conditions for morning commuters from Kansas to Wisconsin.

Nebraska's largest school district canceled classes because of heavy overnight snow, as did many districts across Iowa, where drivers were being told to stay off the roads starting Wednesday evening because of whiteout conditions.

But Iowa native Laurie Harry said the weather likely wouldn't stop her from starting up her car Thursday morning.

"If I need to get into work, I'll be here," said Harry, a manager at a Casey's General Store in the western Iowa town of Atlantic. "We've had snow before. Iowans know what to expect. We're used to it."

The heaviest snow is expected across a swath extending from northwest Missouri into Milwaukee, Chicago and Michigan, with predictions of as much as a foot of snow in some areas, according to the National Weather Service. Before the storm, several cities in the Midwest had broken records for the number of consecutive days without measurable snow.

In Iowa, more than 30,000 people were without electricity due to the storm, reports CNN.

In Kansas City, schools were closed as were parts of Interstate 29 near St. Joseph and Kansas City International Airport early Thursday because of traffic accidents, reports KCTV-5.

Light snow, strong winds and low clouds could make visibility poor and cause delays at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, the nation's second-busiest airport, according to the National Weather Service. The weather has already prompted Delta and United Airlines to allow many affected travelers to change schedules without incurring fees.

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