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Frigid cold invades U.S. Midwest

Lake effect snow blankets some towns with more than 30 inches of snow

CHICAGO | January 14, 2012

Frigid cold invaded the U.S. Midwest Friday after a storm blanketed a wide region with snow that snarled traffic and was blamed for at least one death.

Lake effect snow from Lake Superior blanketed some towns with more than 30 inches of snow in the North Woods region of Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. A winter storm warning had been in effect in the region, the National Weather Service said.

Authorities canceled a winter storm warning for Chicago about 6 hours ahead of schedule because snowfall was less intense than expected -- but what there was of it, combined with icy roads, caused spin-outs on almost every expressway making for a slow morning commute, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Police said a woman died Thursday in Oswego, Ill., when her vehicle crossed into oncoming traffic and struck a semitrailer truck.

NWS meteorologist Jamie Enderlen said high temperatures in Chicago would be in the teens.

Both major Chicago airports reported delays and cancellations into Thursday night, the Tribune said.

Classes at schools in the Michigan City, Ind., area were canceled Friday, the Northwest Indiana Times reported. Other school districts said start times would be delayed.

New Englanders braced for rapidly changing weather conditions, AccuWeather.com reported.

Temperatures were expected to drop rapidly by as much as 20 degrees, creating a flash freeze and dangerous travel conditions, forecasters said.

While the Midwest digs out and bundles up, New York snow-dependent businesses bemoaned the lack of precipitation, The New York Times reported.

The lack of snow has been bad for business at hardware stores, ski shops, snow-plow services, even shoeshine stands, business owners said.

Don Ward, who runs a shoeshine stand at Avenue of the Americas and 47th Street, said snow -- or rather the city's efforts to combat snow -- adds to his bottom line.

"Salt does something terrible to shoes, so when there's a snowstorm, it's a win-win," Ward said.

2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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