Monster Storm Imminent As Holiday Travel Begins

ABC's Ginger Zee provides more details on what weather to expect this holiday week.
2:38 | 12/20/12

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Transcript for Monster Storm Imminent As Holiday Travel Begins
it is a blustery mess for americans trying to travel for the holidays. A monster storm wreaking havoc on the roads and in the air. Look at this. A tractor trailer is no match for the wind and the ice. Cars are going nowhere in the snow. And this is the view through one driver's windshield. Whiteout. It is slick and dangerous for travelers tonight. And abc's meteorologist ginger zee is tracking it all from the snows of des moines, iowa. Ginger? Reporter: Diane, it has been a punishing day for millions of americans. The snow drifts growing so tall here in iowa, and the blizzard, only part of the problem. Tonight, an aggressive winter storm, carrying thrashing winds and blowing snow, has shut down major highways across the midwest and killed at least five people. There have been more than a thousand spinouts and crashes from nebraska to wisconsin. In iowa, it was a 25-car pileup on i-35. So many people stranded on the roads across that state, the iowa national guard has mobilized 80 troops in hum sleeps to help. They can get into places where track is not really good. Reporter: The blowing snow is really the problem here. It has stopped falling but you can hardly tell. The cars still litter the side of the highway. They're incredible whiteouts up and down i-80. The blizzard is just part of this mammoth storm that came in with a bang. That's thunder snow from madison, wisconsin. The first major winter storm of the season knocked out power to 400,000 homes in nine ates. Kcrg reporter mark karlson, just down the road from me here in iowa, struggled to stay on his feet. There's a sheet of ice -- whoa, that was the one! Reporter: In wisconsin, snow was coming in sideways, melting jeremy nelson. Finally, the southern part of the storm. Waking parts of alabama up with severe thunderstorms and an ef-1, tornado. Our reporter was there. Early morning thunderstorm was powerful enough to cause a tornado and rip the wall off this shopping center. Reporter: The snowstorm now moves northeast. Challenging wie iing chae iing chicago. You know, if you can find any positive inside this powder, the people here in this part of the country tell me, at least it's moisture. Remember, they've seen extreme and severe drought for years.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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