DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Hundreds of schools are closed and
traffic has been snarled this morning from the Upper Midwest
through New England, as a fierce winter storm brings dangerous ice, heavy snow and vicious winds to the region.

Blizzard warnings cover eastern Nebraska and parts of Kansas and Minnesota, while more than a foot of snow is expected in parts of Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa.

The National Weather Service is warning of near whiteout driving conditions with wind gusts possibly hitting 50 miles an hour and piling snow into drifts up to 15 feet high.

In Wisconsin, as many as a dozen tractor-trailer have been
marooned near Madison on interstate ramps made impassable by heavy snow.

The storm brought rain and snow to the Mountain West earlier in
the week, and bitter wind chills have moved in behind.

As it moves east, the storm's already reached the eastern half
of New York.

The National Weather Service reports the Albany area, the Catskills and parts of the Hudson Valley have up to 8 inches of
snow on the ground already this morning.

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