Midwestern states brace for winter storm to hit the region

The National Weather Service says a storm stretching from the nation's capital to Colorado could bring the highest snow totals in several years to sections of Missouri and Illinois

The storm is expected to drop 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 centimeters) of snow in the St. Louis metropolitan area into eastern Illinois between Friday and early Sunday.

Sally Johnson, a meteorologist in St. Louis, says the storm has the potential to drop the most snow in five or six years. Missouri received 10.8 inches (27 centimeters) on Jan. 5-6, 2014, and 12.4 inches (31.5 centimeters) on March 23-24, 2013.

The University of Missouri's flagship campus in Missouri and St. Louis University shutdown Friday afternoon, along with numerous public schools. Johnson said the heaviest amounts are expected along the Interstate 70 corridor from Columbia to St. Louis.

In Illinois, the weather service snow would begin in southwestern Illinois and spread northeast throughout the evening, reaching the Chicago area by Saturday morning. Snow totals are to taper to the northeast with parts of southwestern Illinois forecast to receive up to 9 inches (23 centimeters). The Chicago area is expected to get between 1 and 4 inches (2.5 to 10 centimeters) and much of central Illinois was expected to receive 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 centimeters).

And in Indiana snow accumulations of 5 to 7 inches (13 to 18 centimeters) are expected between midnight Friday and 7 a.m. Sunday in portions of central, south central, southeastern, southwestern and west central Indiana. It says locally higher amounts of snowfall are possible.