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Feb. 9 (UPI) — A powerful winter storm slammed the Midwest on Friday, blanketing cities in snow and causing a number of school cancellations.

The storm dropped up to 9 inches of snow in some places, with more to come, and is the largest to hit the Midwest this winter. Chicago was forecast to receive between 6 and 12 inches.

Storm alerts were issued for 20 states, including Georgia, New York and Wyoming. The storm will move out of Chicago by Friday evening, but forecasters say snow will continue to fall in much of the Northeast through the weekend.

The latest winter storm is fueled by an impulse of energy flowing through a broad southward dip in the jet stream — lifting moist air over a surface frontal system.

Havre, Mt., picked up the greatest amount of snowfall by Friday morning — 13 inches in just a 30-hour period.

Public schools were closed in Chicago Friday as the storm, projected to drop more than a foot of snow on the nation’s third-largest city, starting falling late Thursday.

The worst snowfall will occur in the northern part of Chicago, while areas farther south will have extremely limited visibility, forecasters said.

Hundreds of schools closed in Detroit due to the storm, as well, with between 6 and 9 inches of snow expected to fall through Friday.

“It’s going to be messy,” Trent Frey, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in White Lake Township, said. He added the Greater Detroit area could see snowfall in the “upper range” of weather predictions by the time the storm passes.