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Fox News Weather Center

PHOTOS: Chicago Trudges Through Blizzard Conditions Amid Fifth-Biggest Snowstorm in History

A far-reaching winter storm created travel nightmares across two-thirds of the country from the Midwest to the Northeast Saturday afternoon through Monday.

Two storms came together across the Southwest on Saturday, before meeting with an arctic press of air surging south from Canada. A swath of heavy snow spread across the Central states Saturday night into Sunday.

Travel along I-80 from Nebraska, Iowa and northern Illinois became treacherous on Sunday. Whipping winds and blowing snow added to the hazards of snow-covered roads by dangerously reducing visibility. Plow crews were busy clearing windswept snow off roadways even after snowfall ended.

Near-blizzard conditions enveloped Chicago Sunday evening with severely limited visibility, heavy snowfall and blowing and drifting snow.

"The storm strengthened dramatically and gave Chicago their biggest snow since last winter, and last winter was known as a very snowy winter there," AccuWeather.com Chief Forecaster Elliot Abrams said.

The storm snowfall total climbed to 19.3 inches in Chicago, placing this storm as the fifth-largest snowstorm ever to impact the city, according to Chicago NWS office records. The city also shattered daily snowfall records.

More than 1,400 arriving and departing flights were canceled at Chicago O'Hare International Airport on Sunday, and another 1,000 flights were canceled on Monday, according to FlightStats.

Despite the major effects of the storm, Chicagoans trudged out into the heavy snow, sending a flurry of pictures via social media. On Twitter, both "blizzard" and "#chicago" began trending on Sunday.

Farther east, Detroit received 16.7 inches of snow from the storm.

Snow spread over the Northeast Sunday afternoon through Sunday night, with heavy snow falling across upstate New York and southern New England. Eastern New England remained in the snowstorm's grips through Monday evening and Monday night, with gusty wind adding to travel concerns.

Flights arriving to Boston Logan were delayed on average by more than three hours due to snow and ice, according to the FAA.

Farther south, warmer air began to encroach in the middle levels of the atmosphere on Monday, changing the snow over to a wintry mix of sleet and freezing rain. Travel was slick around New York City for the Monday morning commute as an icy mix fell. Inbound flights to JFK were delayed by almost two hours, the FAA reported.

The wintry mix also impacted southern New England, creating a icy coating on top of the copious amounts of snow already in place from the Blizzard of 2015.

Bitterly cold air surging into the Northeast caused any leftover snow or slush to freeze rapidly on roadways and other surfaces in parts of the mid-Atlantic and Appalachians on Monday evening.

"This has been a late snow season in the Northeast, but it's making up for lost time," Abrams said of the recent onslaught of winter storms affecting the region.

Between the 10-day period from Jan. 24 through Feb. 2, Boston has received 47.9 inches of snow, Abrams added. That's more than the normal seasonal snowfall average for Boston, which is 43.8 inches.

Content contributed by AccuWeather Meteorologists Chyna Glenn and Courtney Spamer as well as AccuWeather Lead Online Journalist Jillian MacMath.