OMAHA, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- The first major snowstorm of the season inundated parts of the United States Tuesday and was blamed for at least four deaths, officials said.
Highways from California eastward were closed because of snow, ice and rains, law enforcement agencies told several media outlets.
The early-winter storm has been blamed for four deaths from weather-related accidents, media outlets reported. The first two occurred Sunday in northern California, the area first hit by the weather. The third and fourth happened Monday near Indianapolis and Santa Fe, N.M.
Officials also reported numerous traffic accidents and power outages along the storm's path that stretched from the Plains states into the Upper Midwest, AccuWeather.com reported.
The first blizzard in at least a decade was declared for Flagstaff, Ariz., the Flagstaff Daily Sun reported Tuesday. The storm was predicted to bring between 12-28 inches of snow to Flagstaff and other northern Arizona areas before it cleared out.
AccuWeather.com reported snow began blanketing an area from Denver to Green Bay, Wis., and disruptive blizzard condition will smack the area later Tuesday into Wednesday.
The storm that already left 1-3 inches of snow in a line from northern Illinois to Iowa and northern Missouri was still ginning up at midday Tuesday, weather forecasters said.
Forty-mph winds whipped up the powdery snow, forecasters said. Portions of Interstates 29, 35, 70, 79, 80, 90 and others were already snow covered and slippery in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Wisconsin and northern Illinois.
Chicago's O'Hare International Airport reported flight delays of up to 2 1/2 hours at midday -- causing a rippling effect across much of the country.
In the Northeast, residents can expect a mix of snow, ice and rain, again accompanied by the potential for major travel headaches by Wednesday. Forecasters said rain would fall mainly along the coast, transitioning to ice and snow over much of the interior.
Thunderstorms will rumble across the South all day Tuesday, forecasters said. Severe weather was expected to be confined to parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, but other Southern cities could expect another round of heavy rain.