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Winter storm in US Midwest snarls roads, hits flights

© Getty/AFP/File | The Windy City (seen in 2017) has not seen this much snow at once since 2011, when a storm quickly dumped about 20 inches of so quickly that drivers had to abandon stuck cars along a major road

CHICAGO (AFP) - 

A significant winter storm brought heavy snowfalls to parts of the US Midwest on Friday, causing flight cancelations, snarling roads and closing schools.

"Snow will make weather headlines from the greater Chicago metro area to Detroit on Friday, with winter storm warnings in effect," the National Weather Service said in an advisory.

Schools were closed in both major cities, flights canceled, and multiple car crashes reported.

Detroit and Chicago were forecast to receive as much as nine inches (23 centimeters) of snow, with more than one inch per hour expected to fall in the Detroit area on Friday morning.

More than 1,100 flights were canceled at Detroit and Chicago airports -- at least half at Chicago's O'Hare, one of the nation's busiest.

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

"Our city is tackling the first major snow storm we have seen in several years," said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, encouraging residents to stay indoors and "take the warnings and advisories seriously."

The Windy City has not seen this much snow at once since 2011, when a storm quickly dumped about 20 inches of so quickly that drivers had to abandon stuck cars along a major road.

Officials insisted they were prepared this time, with approximately 300 snowplows to prevent a recurrence of such a scene. Still, the city experienced dozens of car crashes Thursday evening and early Friday.

Forecasters expected the storm to last until Friday evening.

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

© 2018 AFP