At least three death have been blamed on a fierce eastbound winter storm that is engulfing much of the Midwest with heavy snow, ice, and blizzard winds.
The storm began in the Southwest earlier this week and is now being felt by an estimated 45 million people across 21 states, most of which are under winter weather warnings, watches, or advisories, reported CNN
The winter storm is expected to reach the Northeast late Wednesday as just heavy rain and winds before moving southward toward the Carolinas on Thursday.
In the Midwest, blizzard conditions which had already dumped more than 19 inches of snow in Amarillo, Texas, were expected to leave 18 inches of snow in some parts of eastern Kansas, Missouri and Illinois by Tuesday afternoon, according to forecasters.
The storm, which the National Weather Service is calling "a crippling, historic blizzard," has also brought wind gusts of up to 75 mph in parts of Texas and 69 mph in Oklahoma, causing downed power lines and massive traffic delays on major highways throughout the region.
"In Oklahoma, we don't often get large amounts of snow like what we're seeing, especially up in northwest Oklahoma. We may get a couple of snows a year. So this is definitely not something that we're used to seeing," Keli Cain, of the state's Department of Emergency Management, told ABC News.
In neighboring Missouri, University of Missouri-Columbia has called of all classes and Kansas City Mayor Sly James declared a state of emergency.
As many as 60,000 buildings experienced power outages at some point during the storm, the Kansas City Power and Light reported via its Facebook page.
The severe weather caused Kansas City International Airport to cancel 104 of its flights on Tuesday morning and caused Chicago's O'Hare airport to cancel 240 arrivals and departures, Reuters reported.
This week's blizzard follows another storm that swept through the Plains last week and left several inches of snow that is now compounding problems.
‘Historic’ Blizzard Cancels 2,900 Flights, Threatens Massive Snowfall
Blizzard Danger: Grisly Snowblower Accidents
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