Snowstorm strikes US Midwest on way to east coast

Snowball fights and cancelled flights in Chicago

A snowstorm that has dumped up to 12 inches (30cm) on parts the US Midwest and cancelled 1,100 flights is now making its way to mid-Atlantic states.

Schools were closed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois, where officials urged caution on slick roads.

Chicago's O'Hare airport had already seen six inches of snow as of mid-afternoon and heavier accumulation was reported in Minnesota and Iowa.

Washington DC is expected to see 3-8 inches of snow, weather officials said.

Nearby mountains in western Maryland expect as much as 16 inches.

In western Wisconsin, an articulated lorry slid off a snow-covered highway and into the Red Cedar River, killing one person. A search for a second person, believed to be a passenger, was suspended overnight.

'Just in case'

Chicago airports have seen 1,100 flights cancelled, creating delays elsewhere in the country.

City officials worked to keep the Lake Shore Drive thoroughfare safe, treating the roadway hours before the snow began falling.

A blizzard in 2011 embarrassed the city when hundreds of cars and buses were stuck in the snow along the highway that runs next to Lake Michigan, trapping some people overnight.

Meanwhile, those in the mid-Atlantic region were getting ready for the storm. Airlines along the storm's projected path had already shut down about 450 flights for Wednesday, most of them at Washington DC area airports.

"Well, I have an inclination to think that it's not going to be as bad as they say it is, but it probably will be," resident Ann Oulobo told the Associated Press as she was shopping near Baltimore in Maryland. "So, it's better to be prepared, just in case,''

The storm, which began in Montana before moving east, follows a series of heavy winter snowstorms that have dropped double-digit snowfalls in the Midwest.

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