Fox News Weather Center

Chicago shivers as first major snowstorm of 2012 hits Midwest

Chicago was bracing itself for up to eight inches of snow overnight as the first major snowstorm of the season brought treacherous conditions and the usual frustrations for travelers Thursday.

As of 8:30pm local time about 560 flights at O'Hare and Midway airports had been canceled while conditions on the roads were expected to worsen throughout the evening. The Chicago Department of Aviation said delays and cancellations could continue Friday as airlines try to make up their schedules.

The snow began falling in gentle fashion but grew heavier throughout the day. Meteorologists predicted between four and eight inches would fall on the Windy City overnight. Snow accumulation near Lake Michigan was expected to be higher, reported.

The storm was causing damage from Wisconsin to Missouri, putting at least a temporary end to an unseasonably warm winter. reported that the storm had contributed to at least three deaths on roads in Missouri and Iowa.

Chicago meteorologists warned the heavy snowfall could last into Friday morning, with wind chills dipping into the single digits and wind gusts hitting as high as 35mph.

A release from the city said 278 snowplows -- Chicago's full force -- were on the streets as of Thursday afternoon.

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