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Millions Across Plains and Midwest Face Heavy Snow, Deep Freeze Over the Weekend

Deep Freeze Across Country Is Taking Temperatures To Record Lows 2:52

A wintry mix was making a mess Saturday in pockets of the northern Plains and Midwest — a snowy and bitter blast that will move eastward into Monday, allowing for a potentially treacherous commute for millions.

About 25 million people are bracing for the storm system as it marches across the Midwest late Saturday into Sunday — ahead of plunging temperatures that will fall below zero in Chicago and bring a deep chill to the Northeast next week.

"This is certainly going to be the coldest air this year," said Weather Channel meteorologist Kelly Cass.

Whiteout conditions have been reported in North Dakota and dangerous ice-slicked streets and trees in Portland, Oregon, where authorities were inundated with nearly 400 emergency requests through Friday night.

In one incident, 75 to 100 people had to be rescued from inside a light rail train that stopped when a high-voltage power line fell on the tracks, Portland Fire & Rescue tweeted.

Already, a whopping 3 feet of snow fell in suburban Cleveland with more than 9 inches reported overnight Friday in the small city of Kirtland, according to the National Weather Service.

Other parts of the Great Lakes region could see up to a foot of snow by the time the storm dissipates this weekend, forecasters said. Parts of eastern Ohio, northwestern Pennsylvania and western New York could get walloped with 4 to 6 inches, and even 8 to 10 inches in some areas.

Earlier this week, the pre-winter weather led to traffic pileups in Michigan, where three people were killed, and Erie, Pennsylvania, where Interstate 90 was temporarily shut down.

Image: Michigan snow
T.J. Seiwert clears snow on Dec. 9 in the Vine neighborhood of Kalamazoo, Mich., after few more inches of snow fell overnight and in the morning. Mark Bugnaski / Kalamazoo Gazette via AP

The snow threat will continue into Monday morning, although Northeast states along the Interstate 95 corridor are expected to see rain by the afternoon, forecasters said.

Meanwhile, another round of snow is in store for the Pacific Northwest and the Plains this weekend. By Monday, snow totals will reach as much as 2 feet in some parts of Washington state, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, The Weather Channel reported.