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.
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 cancelled 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.
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.
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 travellers to change schedules without incurring fees.
By Wednesday night, snow had blanketed parts of Iowa and Nebraska as the storm moved out of eastern Colorado and across parts of Kansas.
Several states were reporting numerous traffic accidents, including one fatality in Nebraska.
With files from CNN