Heavy snow and strong winds already pounded Chicago and Detroit, where public school systems opted not to open Friday, CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said.

Metra announced the BNSF railway will use an alternative snow schedule on Friday.

Travel could become almost impossible at times due to the amount of snow coming down, along with the potential for icing farther west near I-15. But Racine County could see up to three inches of snow before midnight. Snow has developed along this front and will start to fall in central Iowa during the afternoon and continue tonight and through most of the day tomorrow. The express lanes will close at 9 p.m. for snow removal and will reopen in the inbound direction at 5 a.m. Saturday, when the normal schedule for the reversible lanes will resume.

On Thursday, the National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for portions of northern IL and northwest IN that remains IN effect until 6 p.m. Friday.

United Airlines said on Twitter that travel waivers were in effect for snow-hit areas this week, and Delta Air Lines offered to rebook flights on Friday for 18 Midwest cities.

As of Friday, the National Weather Service received reports of up to 11 inches of snow over a 24-hour period in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

"I had to push my flight back first, then the bus was late 'cause of the snow, which was OK because we were running late as well", she said.

As we would expect, the heavy snow area outlined above is for most of the southern third of Lower Michigan.

The National Weather Service said heavy snow is forecast to move into upstate NY and New England by early Saturday, Reuters reported. Expect high temperatures to ease into the lower 20s. Even though those locations are not within the WLFI viewing area, our northern counties (Pulaski, Fulton, Jasper and Newton) will likely be impacted. Wind chill values may drop down to -5° at times early Thursday morning.

Buffalo, Syracuse and Rochester could see from 3 to 6 inches, according to AccuWeather.com, and enough snow will fall around Albany, Burlington and Montreal to create hazardous driving conditions. Snow begins between 4-7 PM from west to east.

State Department of Transportation snow and ice operations will be deployed as conditions necessitate.

"Travel will be unsafe and almost impossible", the service said, warning that ice may cause widespread power outages.

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