Much of the Midwest and Great Lakes region received an early jolt of wintry weather today, as snowfalls of up to 10 inches closed schools, toppled power lines and snarled travel. A blizzard warning was posted in parts of Wisconsin.
In hard-hit Iowa, Iowa State and Drake universities were among scores of schools and businesses that closed their doors or delayed opening today as high winds and heavy snows brought much of Iowa to a standstill. The Dubuque Regional Airport was closed, with snowdrifts of 2 to 3 feet.
Forecasters said that the storm was caused by an intense low-pressure system that was moving across central Illinois into northern Indiana this morning, and that the East would begin to feel its effects later in the day.
National Weather Service meteorologist Dan Ferry in Des Moines said the combination of snow and wind was the most severe in central Iowa in five years.