Snowstorm Belts US Midwest; 5 Die in Crashes

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"To the south, freezing rain is expected into Sunday near and east of the central and southern Appalachians, where up to a quarter of an inch of ice could accrete, with locally higher amounts possible", the NWS's Weather Prediction Center said.

Missouri seemed to get the worst of it with a foot of snow falling near Saint Louis and even more in Columbia.

A massive winter storm hit the US Rockies and Plains on Friday then punched east, with snow set to assault a 1,800-mile (1,609 km) corridor through the weekend, creating transportation "havoc" in the middle of the country.

Parts of central IL have registered record snowfalls after a winter storm struck and then lingered for much of the weekend.

At least five people died in weather-related crashes on roads in Missouri and Kansas, according to the highway patrolmen in both states.

State police urged IN residents not to travel if they don't have to because roads remain slick.

Dozens of flights were canceled at St. Louis Lambert International Airport, which described the onslaught of snow, in a message on Twitter, as one of its biggest single-day winter storms in years.

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The National Weather Service (NWS) reported that Northern Missouri and central IL will be hit the hardest. Major cities in the zone, including St. Louis, could get more than 6 inches of snow. A foot was recorded in Columbia and 17 inches in Harrisburg as of 10 a.m. ET.

The National Weather Service says snow was to begin about 3 p.m.in southwestern IL and spread northeast throughout the evening, reaching the Chicago area by early Saturday. In anticipation of the storm, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency Saturday.

The storm was pretty much over by late afternoon when the Kansas City Chiefs hosted the Indianapolis Colts in an National Football League playoff game, but seats in Arrowhead Stadium were still covered in snow and fans tailgated under tents in the stadium parking lot. Illinois State Police said troopers along the Mississippi River across from St. Louis had responded to more than 100 crashes during the storm.

It is forecast to leave up to 10 inches (25cm) of snow in Washington DC and parts of Maryland by Sunday and there could also be heavy snow in Virginia. Gridlock traffic blocked snow plows from reaching stretches of the interstate, Becker said, creating up to eight miles of backup at times.

State Police Director Leo Schmitz told reporters that 34-year-old Christopher Lambert was headed home when he pulled over and got out of his squad vehicle to respond to the accident.

Some interstates in Missouri, including I-70 and I-44, reopened Saturday morning after being shutdown Friday night, but treacherous conditions continued. "More cancellations are likely on Saturday and Sunday", airport officials said.

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