Chicago dodges heavy snow, but the Midwest may see some of the biggest snowfalls this season

Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY
A major winter storm bypassed Chicago Feb. 26, leaving only a few inches of snow on city streets.

A winter storm barreling toward Chicago shifted south overnight, sparing the Windy City a blast of the heaviest snow but taking aim at Detroit and Toledo with some of the region's biggest snowfalls of the season.

The heavy snow will probably disrupt travel along Interstates 70, 80 and 90 as it moves east. Snow will affect travel from eastern Missouri to parts of Illinois, Indiana, southern Michigan and western and northern Ohio on Wednesday

Up to 8 inches of snow is likely in some areas.

Two Midwest winter storms merged to form one large storm, according to AccuWeather senior meteorologist Dan Pydynowski. 

On the northeast end of the storm, southern parts of Quebec could see up to 2 feet of snow, Pydynowski said.

Winter storm warnings were in effect for parts of western New York, including Buffalo, as well as northern New England as the storm heads east on Thursday. Lake-effect snow warnings have also been issued in western New York to the southeast of Lake Erie and to the east of Lake Ontario.

As the storm tracks to the east, rain is expected to turn to snow across parts of the Appalachians and the interior Northeast. 

Also, locally heavy rain will be possible across portions of the Northeast, while a potential line of strong thunderstorms may roll through the mid-Atlantic.

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Temperatures to plummet 

On Thursday, upstate New York and northern New England could face a round of heavy snow. 

"A much cooler air mass will settle in behind the cold front across the East Coast region by Thursday, signaling a cold end to February," the weather service said. 

The Weather Channel said the East could feel gusty winds Thursday that could trigger flight delays even in areas without rain or snow.

On Friday, a sharp blast of bitterly cold air is expected to plunge into the Plains and Midwest states, slicing in a southeasterly direction all the way to the Carolina coast. 

The cold air is expected to send temperatures plunging to single digits along a thin band from Minneapolis to Boston, according to AccuWeather. 

As far south as Atlanta, temperatures are expected to fall below freezing along a wide band stretch from Kansas to Virginia.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Weather: Detroit, Toledo to see heavy snow; Temps to drop in South