By Sunday, Chicago to potentially see over 20 inches of snow

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Large storm system moving into Northeast with snow, freezing rain

That would be a significant improvement over the forecast from Thursday night, when it appeared the Chicago area could see as much as 12 inches by Friday afternoon, and up to 17 inches by Sunday.

Snow-related crashed snarled highways across southern MI, with one person killed when a semitrailer struck the rear of a auto stopped in traffic on US 23 near Flint, police said.

Thursday evening running through Friday night, a Winter Storm Watch has been scheduled to go into effect for most of the metro area issued by the National Weather Service.

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The snowfall caused dozens of crashes on icy Chicago expressways as residents of the third-biggest US city struggled to get to work and to dig out from a storm system stretching from western Montana to southern MI.

By noon, more than 1,300 flights had been scrapped and another 1,390 delayed largely at Chicago O'Hare, Chicago Midway and Detroit, according to flight-tracking service FlightAware.

Winter weather this week killed several people in accidents in the Midwest, including six in Iowa, two in Missouri and one in Montana, local media in those states reported.

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When all's said and done, forecast models project Buffalo could see 5 to 7 inches of total snowfall by the end of the weekend. Eight inches was reported in parts of northern IL and up to about 6 inches was reported the Chicago area. The snow that began falling late Thursday afternoon was expected to continue through today as the storm moves east. As of 9:30 a.m., more than 740 flights have been cancelled on Friday at O'Hare, and more than 280 have been cancelled on Friday at Midway.

Meteorologist Heather Orow in Grand Rapids, Michigan, says the storm is "generally going to be an issue for travel". Some of the highest totals are forecast in the Chicago area, northern in and southern MI.

Frontier Airlines, Delta, Air Canada, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, JetBlue, and American Airlines are offering flight change waivers for affected passengers.

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"Periods of heavy snow will arrive into Friday across the southern Great Lakes", said weather.com meteorologist Jonathan Belles.

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