April 11 (UPI) -- An early spring blizzard churned through parts of the Rockies and Midwest on Thursday, leaving thousands without power and forcing the cancellation of hundreds of flights.
The record-breaking storm dumped up to 18 inches of snow in parts of Wyoming and South Dakota, up to 9 inches in Colorado's mountainous regions, and 6 inches in Minneapolis. The totals were expected to increase as the storm progressed east.
As the storm departed Colorado, officials canceled a blizzard warning in Denver, but not before the weather disrupted flights at Denver International Airport.
FlightAware reported some 900 flight cancellations and 2,286 delays into, out of or within the United States as of late Thursday afternoon. The majority of the cancellations, 266, originated out of Minneapolis/St. Paul International, and 103 were out of Denver
Meanwhile, some 89,000 customers in Iowa, South Dakota, Minneapolis, Wisconsin and Michigan were without power after ice caused more than 100 power poles to fall in Minnesota.
Meteorologists said the blizzard's reach spans 700 miles in six states.
The National Weather Service issued wind and snow advisories for 22 states, from the Rockies to the Ohio Valley. Snow fell up to 2 inches per hour in some places.
The storm closed several businesses in Colorado and Wyoming. Interstate highways throughout the Midwest were impacted by the heavy snow.
"Road conditions are getting worse and we encourage folks to avoid travel," Colorado Gov. Jard Polis tweeted.
Professional baseball and soccer games in Colorado were postponed.
In South Dakota, Gov. Kristi Noem closed government offices in 52 counties and power outages hit Sioux Falls.
Minnesota activated the National Guard to rescue stranded motorists, officials said. Hundreds of crashes were reported and at least 15 big rigs had jack-knifed. Minneapolis predicted up to 23 inches of snow overnight with a layer of ice on top. Winds there were expected to reach 50 mph, forecasters warned.
"Falling and blowing snow with strong winds and poor visibilities are likely," the National Weather Service said. "This will lead to whiteout conditions, making travel extremely dangerous. Do not travel."
Snowfall was reported as far south as Kansas and as far north as Wisconsin.
The storm system was expected to continue its northern trek into the Dakotas and Minnesota. Iowa, Illinois and Indiana could also see severe weather like thunderstorms, damaging winds, hail and possibly tornadoes.
Forecasters say the system will move to the Great Lakes by Friday.