CHICAGO (AP) — A winter storm blanketed much of the central Mid­west with snow on Sun­day at the end of the Thanks­giving weekend, bringing blizzard-like conditions that grounded hundreds of flights and forced the clo­sure of major highways on one of the busiest travel days of the year.

“It’s going to be messy,” said Todd Kluber, a me­teorologist for the National Weather Service who is based in suburban Chicago.

With much of the central Plains and Great Lakes re­gion under blizzard or win­ter storm warnings, more than 1,200 flights head­ed to or from the U.S. had been canceled as of 9 p.m. Sunday, according to the flight-tracking website Flight­Aware.

Most were supposed to be routed through Chicago or Kansas City — areas forecast to be hit hard by the storm.

Strong winds and snow created blizzard conditions across much of Nebraska and parts of Kansas, Iowa and Missouri. The National Weather Service was warn­ing those conditions would make travel difficult in places.

By midday, the blizzard warning was extended to parts of eastern Illinois and Chicago, where snow is fore­cast to fall at a rate of about 2 inches per hour.

Other parts of the central Plains and Great Lakes region were under a winter storm warning that could see a foot or more of snow dumped in some places by the end of the day.

In eastern Nebraska, part of Interstate 80 be­tween Lincoln and Omaha was closed Sunday morning be­cause of multiple ac­ci­dents after snow covered that area. That included sem­i­trailer trucks jack­knifed across the highway. It was re-opened by Sunday afternoon.

In Kansas, Gov. Jeff Col­yer issued a state of emer­gency declaration. The action came as a large stretch of Interstate 70, spanning much of the state, was closed be­tween Junction City and Wa­Keeney.

Separately, a portion of Interstate 29 was shut down in Missouri, near the Iowa border.

The weather service posted some snowfall totals on Twitter Sunday night. Kan­sas City International Airport got 5.3 inches of snow, and at least 7 inches of snow was reported in Rockford, Illinois.

As much as a foot was ex­pected in Chicago. Fore­cas­ters predict more than a foot of snow is likely in southeast Nebraska, north­east Kansas, northwest Mis­sou­ri and southwest Iowa.

By this morning, the storm was expected to hit parts of northern Indiana and southern Michigan.

Kluber said the storm was expected to hit the Chi­ca­go region sometime Sun­day evening. He said rain will give way to heavy snowfall and “near white­out conditions” that will make for dangerous travel.

Schools in parts of Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Illinois have already called off classes for today.

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