States clean up after blizzard havoc
02:33 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

A winter storm warning is in effect in portions of Maine and New Hampshire

Ten inches of snow predicted in the interior regions of Maine, the weather service says

There are six storm-related deaths in Kansas and one in Oklahoma

A snow emergency has been declared in Milwaukee

It was a winter weather tale as old as, well, modern time: car vs. the snow plow.

“There’s our friend and our nemesis, the plow. Ugh,” said David Bradley, whose car was buried Wednesday by a plow clearing streets in Toronto.

Forty-five minutes later, he was still trying to dig out his car from a fierce snowstorm that paralyzed parts of the United States and Canada, leaving hundreds of thousands without power and stranding thousands more.

Similar scenes were playing from Wisconsin to Michigan, from Kansas to Texas, as thousands began digging out from a storm that began 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.

Warming climate could mean bigger blizzards, less snow

Deaths and destruction

The storm’s toll was still being tallied in deaths and damage as remnants of the storm hit portions of New Hampshire and Maine early Thursday morning.

A winter storm warning was in effect until 5 p.m. ET, with up to 10 inches of snow in the interior regions of Maine and eastern New Hampshire, according to the National Weather Service.

As it marched on, officials said at least seven people were killed.

In hard-hit Kansas, there were at least six storm-related deaths: two siblings who died of carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator, three people in fatal vehicle accidents and an elderly woman who died of hypothermia sweeping snow off her steps, Gov. Sam Brownback said.

A seventh person died when a roof collapsed in hard-hit Woodward, Oklahoma, Mayor Roscoe Hill said.

At the height of the storm, about 100,000 Kansas City Power and Light customers were without power, the company said. But Wednesday, roughly 10,000 were without power.

A snow emergency was declared in Milwaukee through Thursday morning to keep cars from parking on zones where snow plows and emergency vehicles take priority. Up to 17 inches of snow fell in portions of Milwaukee.

In the dark, Simon Alcarac was shoveling snow, trying to meet Milwaukee’s 11 p.m. deadline to move his car to a nearby elementary school parking lot or face a hefty tow bill from the city.

“I prefer to go walk two blocks, three blocks than pay $200 to get it out” of impound, he told CNN affiliate WTMJ-TV.

A number of school districts, senior centers and churches in New Hampshire and Maine were closed Thursday, while some school districts in Kansas, Illinois and Michigan remained closed.

Travel troubles

Airlines were rebooking passengers in Chicago late Wednesday after the snow forced the delay or cancellation of more than 100 flights, according to the airport.

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 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.”

Outside Bradley’s Toronto house, the din of shovel hitting concrete broke the early morning quiet.

“I have not made tremendous progress,” said Bradley, an elementary school hall monitor. “I’m almost to my car.”

CNN’s Greg Botelho, AnneClaire Stapleton and Judson Jones contributed to this report.