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Snowstorm blanketing much of New England, Midwest

By Steve Almasy, CNN
updated 6:20 PM EST, Wed February 27, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Snow good for ski resorts, difficult for commuters, plow drivers
  • NEW: More than 500 flights canceled across the country
  • Power outages in the Kansas City area fall to about 10,000 customers, a utility says
  • At least three people are dead because of the storm, officials say

(CNN) -- It may be a good weekend to go skiing in New England.

That is, if you can get there.

Heavy, wet snow moved into New Hampshire and other states on Wednesday, causing snow plow drivers to wage war with the white stuff.

"It's more wet. More moisture," plow driver Justin Ellsworth, who was working in southern New Hampshire, told CNN affiliate WMUR. "It makes it heavier to pull."

The highest snow accumulations were expected in the White Mountains, where up to 12 inches could fall, forecasters said.

According to the ski report posted on the WMUR website, most resorts were reporting 3 to 6 inches of new snow Wednesday.

The information line at Mount Sunapee in Newbury said 6 inches of snow fell Wednesday, with 2 to 3 more expected on Thursday.

No roads in the state were closed -- except those that are normally shut down during winter -- the state Department of Transportation said.

But with some of the snow mixing with rain, transportation officials urged caution, WMUR reported.

The storm is what's left of a system that gradually weakened after starting Sunday as a blizzard in the Great Plains. By Wednesday, it was a significant snowmaker over the Midwest and New England, causing headaches for some commuters.

Track winter weather

In Waukegan, Illinois, just north of Chicago, residents got 11 to 14 inches of snow Tuesday and more was falling Wednesday.

Conditions made it difficult to clear a path.

One man with a snowblower told CNN affiliate WBBM that the mix of seven parts snow and one part water were clogging his machine.

"It doesn't work with this kind of snow," he said.

Chicago could see 3 more inches of snow Wednesday, forecasters said, for a total of 4 to 7 inches by the time the storm ends. In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, CNN affiliate WTMJ reported schools were closed amid a snowstorm that could bring drifts of up to 6 feet. Blowing snow could reduce visibility to a half mile at times, the National Weather Service said.

Warming climate could mean bigger blizzards, less snow

Travel troubles

The storm was making itself felt on air travel in the Northeast on Wednesday evening, where airports in Boston, New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia were all showing delays. At LaGuardia Airport in New York, the FAA said departing flights were delayed by as much as an hour and 28 minutes.

Airlines called off about 500 U.S. flights Wednesday, according to flight tracking website FlightAware.com. The website doesn't distinguish, however, the reason for each cancellation.

Cleaning up

In Chicago, Willie Johnson advised caution when clearing heavy, wet snow off sidewalks and driveways.

"Take your time because this kind of snow they call heart-attack makers," he told CNN affiliate WLS-TV. "I mean, it will kill you."

Others left the shoveling for later, opting instead to break out the sleds.

"I love it," said John Harris, grinning from ear to ear in his Notre Dame stocking cap. "This is Chicago. This is what it should be like."

In Texas, some people had to resort to unconventional tools to get the job done. CNN iReporter Julie Swift of Plainview, Texas -- where 2 or 3 inches fell -- said she used a plastic school chair.

"The guy was shoveling next door for an older lady. I thought he had a real shovel," she said. "But he had a lid to a big plastic tub. That was funny."

Two weeks, two storms

The storm brought up to a foot of snow to parts of eastern Kansas, Missouri and Illinois a day after plastering southern Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. It was the second major system to hit the area in two weeks.

In Shawnee, Kansas, the roof of a horse arena collapsed under the weight of snow Tuesday morning, CNN affiliate KSHB reported. It was one of several collapses in the region caused by snow, the station said.

No injuries were reported in those collapses, but a person died Monday in a roof collapse in hard-hit Woodward, Oklahoma, said Mayor Roscoe Hill.

Two other deaths came in Kansas on Monday in separate weather-related accidents on Interstate 70. One accident happened in Sherman County and the other in Ellis County, the Kansas National Guard said.

About 106,000 Kansas City Power and Light customers lost power at some point during the storm, the company said Wednesday. About 10,000 remained without power Wednesday morning, the company said.

Are you there? Send stories and photos

CNN's Christina Zdanowicz and Michael Pearson contributed to this report.

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