Storm blankets parts of Midwest with more than foot of snow

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CHICAGO (AP) -- The first significant wintry storm of the season blanketed parts of the Midwest with a foot of snow and more was on the way Saturday, creating hazardous conditions as some travelers prepared to depart for the Thanksgiving holiday.

While winter has not officially begun, the shovels and snow blowers were out from South Dakota through southern Minnesota, Iowa and southern Wisconsin to northern Illinois and Indiana. The National Weather Service said the snow would continue in Illinois and Indiana on Saturday and move into Michigan. The front will head northeast to Canada late on Saturday and into Sunday.

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"In those areas it is going to be a very tough travel day," said National Weather Service meteorologist Bruce Terry in College Park, Maryland.

Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, one of the busiest in the world, had recorded 4 inches of snow by early Saturday with more falling. Roads were slushy as freezing rain turned to snow in the Chicago area, which was forecast to get between six and 10 inches. Temperatures were expected to plunge on Saturday, which could make roadways treacherous with ice, forecasters said.

Photos from Colorado's winter storm earlier this week:

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Storm blankets parts of Midwest with more than foot of snow
Salvador Gonzalez, left, and his 11-year-old son, Julio, build a snowman near their home as a storm, which is packing high winds and snow, blankets the plains Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015, in Aurora, Colo. The storm has closed much of Interstate 70, Colorado's main east-west highway, because of blizzard conditions on the Eastern Plains as well as in northwest Kansas. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
The Flatirons mountain formation lies dusted white after a night of light snowfall, in Boulder, Colo., Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015. The brunt of a winter storm sweeping across the Rockies has been seen mostly in the south and east of Colorado, with much of Colorado's main east-west highway closed because of blizzard conditions on the state's Eastern Plains. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
A gate with a road closed sign blocks entrance to an on ramp to Interstate 70 as a winter storm packing high winds and snow blankets the plains Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015, in Aurora, Colo. The storm has closed much of Interstate 70, Colorado's main east-west highway, because of blizzard conditions on the Eastern Plains as well as in northwest Kansas. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
A tractor-trailer and sports utility vehicle sit stranded in a snowbank along Interstate 70 as a winter storm packing high winds and snow blankets the plains Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015, in Aurora, Colo. The storm has closed much of Interstate 70, Colorado's main east-west highway, because of blizzard conditions on the Eastern Plains as well as in northwest Kansas. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
A man walks his dog after a night of fresh snowfall, in Boulder, Colo., Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015. The brunt of a winter storm sweeping across the Rockies has been seen mostly in the south and east of Colorado, with much of Colorado's main east-west highway closed because of blizzard conditions on the state's Eastern Plains. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
A tow truck, right, pulls up to clear a tractor-trailer and sports utility vehicle stuck in snow on an off ramp off Interstate 70 as a winter storm packing high winds and snow blankets the plains Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015, in Aurora, Colo. The storm has closed much of Interstate 70, Colorado's main east-west highway, because of blizzard conditions on the Eastern Plains as well as in northwest Kansas. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
A woman walks her dog in fresh snow at Chautauqua Park, in Boulder, Colo., Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015. An overnight storm dropped more snow in the mountains of Colorado, but left only a few inches in the Denver area. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
Brittany Tappen stands next to her vehicle, one of several that were stranded by ice and snow on the northbound off ramp from I-25 to Baptist Road during the morning commute north of Colorado Springs, Colo., Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015. The storm system that dropped a foot of snow in the Rockies was making travel hazardous as it headed east on Wednesday, menacing the Plains with heavy snow and threatening turbulent weather, even tornadoes, in parts of the Midwest. (Mark Reis/The Gazette via AP) 
Spencer Tappen runs across Baptist Road near I-25 to help his wife move her car off the ice covered off-ramp Wednesday, Nov.11, 2015, north of Colorado Springs, Colo. The storm system that dropped a foot of snow in the Rockies was making travel hazardous as it headed east on Wednesday, menacing the Plains with heavy snow and threatening turbulent weather, even tornadoes, in parts of the Midwest. (Mark Reis/The Gazette via AP)
A woman runs in fresh snow at Chautauqua Park, in Boulder, Colo., Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015. An overnight winter storm dropped more snow in the mountains of Colorado, but left only a few inches in the Denver area. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 11: A blanket of white snow covers Fort Logan National Cemetery during a Veteran's Day snow storm the moved into the area overnight, November, 11, 2015. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
After a night of fresh snowfall, a coyote walks inside Green Mountain Memorial Cemetery, in Boulder, Colo., Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015. An overnight winter storm dropped more snow in the mountains of Colorado, but left only a few inches in the Denver area. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
Pedestrians cross Woodmen Road at I-25 Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015, as snow and high winds from a winter storm continue to cause problems for the morning commute in Colorado Springs, Colo. The storm system that dropped a foot of snow in the Rockies was making travel hazardous as it headed east on Wednesday, menacing the Plains with heavy snow and threatening turbulent weather, even tornadoes, in parts of the Midwest. (Mark Reis/The Gazette via AP)
Curtis Hansen, left, and Jeff Malley push a motorist up the icy northbound off-ramp from I-25 to Baptist Road Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015, north of Colorado Springs, Colo. The storm system that dropped a foot of snow in the Rockies was making travel hazardous as it headed east on Wednesday, menacing the Plains with heavy snow and threatening turbulent weather, even tornadoes, in parts of the Midwest. (Mark Reis/The Gazette via AP) 
LAKEWOOD, CO - NOVEMBER 11: Brandon Nelli, a student at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood, shovels snow during a Veteran's Day snow storm the moved into the area overnight, November, 11, 2015. Lakewood got almost 3 inches in some areas form the storm. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
After a night of fresh snowfall, a coyote sits under a tree by gravestones inside Green Mountain Memorial Cemetery, in Boulder, Colo., Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015. An overnight storm dropped more snow in the mountains of Colorado, but left only a few inches in the Denver area. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
Sun shines on a fire-scarred hillside, and on the glaciers dotting the Indian Peaks Wilderness, near Gold Hill, Colo., Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015. The Front Range's first big snow will begin on Tuesday evening, according to the National Weather Service. The storm is expected to drop four to five inches on the Denver metro area, up to 12 inches on the mountains and bring blizzard conditions on the Eastern Plains. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
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The Illinois Tollway, which maintains interstate tollways in 11 counties of the state, said it had 185 snowplows ready to go and 84,000 tons of salt stockpiled for the winter.

Southeastern South Dakota got up to 18 inches of snow on Friday, Terry said. Tractor-trailers pulled off slow-moving interstates in South Dakota on Friday to park for the day, said Bret Brown, a cashier at Roadway Express truck stop in Sioux Falls.

In Iowa, Des Moines had recorded 6 inches by late Friday and amounts of a foot or more were common in northern Iowa. The highest snowfall in the state was 17 inches recorded in the far northwestern corner, the weather service said.

The Iowa Department of Transportation warned people in Des Moines and several other cities not to travel because of the hazardous conditions.

Iowa State Patrol Sgt. Nathan Ludwig said troopers in northern and western Iowa were seeing many cars in ditches, especially near Mason City and Council Bluffs, the Des Moines Register reported.

On Interstate 80, a semi-truck struck a snowplow, Ludwig said. No one was injured.

It is not unusual for snow to fall in the Midwest before Thanksgiving, Terry said.

"Some of those amounts are pretty impressive for this time of year," he added.

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