Winter storm snarls Midwest roads, claims at least 7 lives

At least 5 killed in crashes related to powerful Winter Storm Gia

At least 5 killed in crashes related to powerful Winter Storm Gia

Jefferson County Sheriff Dave Marshak said on Twitter on Friday there had been 50 accidents as of 5 p.m. CST.

The Missouri Department of Transportation warned residents not to travel in the storm if it wasn't necessary.

Dozens of flights were canceled at St. Louis Lambert International Airport, which described the onslaught of snow, in a message on Twitter, as one of its biggest single-day winter storms in years.

The University of Missouri men's basketball game at the University of SC was also canceled Saturday because of weather-related travel problems, the team tweeted. The team followed up later on saying the game was "tentatively rescheduled for Sunday".

Missouri isn't the only state being hit by this traveling snow storm. It is poised to leave a blanket of snow this weekend over more than 1,500 miles from Denver to Washington.

Large sections of Missouri, Illinois and IN are under winter weather advisories, and hazardous travel conditions are expected through most of the weekend. Washington and Baltimore were added to the list of advisories, watches and warnings Friday afternoon. Snow is covering roads and making driving risky.

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The storm hit Kansas and Missouri on Friday and continued pummeling those states on Saturday, as it extended into parts of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and OH, said U.S. Weather Prediction Center meteorologist Andrew Orrison. The southern half of Iowa is getting ice and snow, and below Missouri, cold rain is falling on the Sun Belt.

In Illinois, the weather service snow would begin in southwestern Illinois and spread northeast throughout the evening, reaching the Chicago area by Saturday morning. Missouri received 10.8 inches on January 5-6, 2014, and 12.4 inches on March 23-24, 2013. In St. Louis on Friday night, parts of I-44, I-55, I-64 and I-70 were partially closed because of current snowfall, and more is on the way. It would be among the city's 10 greatest snowstorms - landing at the No. 2 spot - of all time if that happens. Motorists found themselves stranded as snow-covered roads became impossible to pass. Johnson said the heaviest amounts are expected along the Interstate 70 corridor from Columbia to St. Louis.

More heavy rain also will fall on the already-saturated South.

25 cm are in the forecast for Washington, D.C., which finds itself in the storm's sights for Sunday.

Meteorologists expect snow to come down over a wide area Saturday evening, from North Carolina to Pennsylvania and from Kansas to New Jersey.

Bands of icy rain are forecast for areas farther south, including parts of Virginia and SC.

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