A powerful system of storms churned across the Rocky Mountains and into the Midwest on Wednesday, dumping snow, driving high winds and leaving tens of millions of people in its projected path.
Blizzard conditions hit the Denver area on Wednesday morning — less than 24 hours after it hit a high temperature of 70. Strong winds reduced visibility, and ice closed roads in the Eastern Plains.
Denver escaped significant snow, but 6 inches fell near Palmer in the northern Colorado and near Lake George in the central part of the state. Up to 12 inches of new snow fell in the mountains, NBC station KUSA reported. Fifty-five flights were canceled Wednesday and 190 more were delayed at Denver International Airport.
The Illinois Emergency Management Agency issued an alert encouraging Chicago residents to stay aware of local forecasts and "be prepared to act quickly if storm warnings are issued."
"It's a huge, typical November storm," said Kevin Roth, lead forecaster for The Weather Channel. "Winter is on the way, that's for sure."
At least one Illinois school district, in Barry, closed early Wednesday because of the storm threat, NBC station WGEM of Quincy reported.
"We normally have a [Veterans Day] assembly, but we'll have to do that Friday," Western Community District Superintendent Terry Robertson said.