The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory from 6 p.m. Thursday through 6 p.m. Friday for Dane, Sauk, Columbia and Iowa counties as 3 to 5 inches of snow are expected during that time frame.
Meteorologists at Environment Canada expect the snow to begin to taper off sometime late this afternoon across the central region of the province.
Both Chicago and Detroit are in the cross hairs of the storm, and widespread flight delays and cancellations are likely at both cities' airports. More than 200 flights were cancelled at Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Romulus, Michigan. A multi-vehicle crash that closed a stretch of eastbound Interstate 94 near Ann Arbor, but no severe injuries were reported.
Delta Air Lines offered to re-book flights on Friday for 18 Midwest cities.
Chicago Public Schools canceled Friday classes ahead of the storm.
Court closures were reported in Chicago and Detroit, and driver's licence offices were shut in the Chicago area.
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The Weather Channel is predicting that as the storm continues east over the weekend, western, central and upstate NY into northern New England will receive less than 6 inches, but a few spots east of lakes Erie and Ontario may see more.
Ahead of a new storm blasting through the Upper Midwest, 12 states from Montana to OH are heeding winter-weather alerts.
"We are getting more snow today, tomorrow and Sunday than we have normally gotten in the last two winters in any one period of time", Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a Friday news conference, adding that the city's top priority is the safety of residents. People should stay off the roads if possible and expect delays and hazardous conditions.
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As of noon, O'Hare International Airport had seen 7.3 inches of snowfall, while Midway International Airport had seen 6.8 inches, the weather service said. "Be prepared for snow covered roads and limited visibilities", the service said in an advisory for southern Wisconsin.
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