Groundhog Day: Record Midwest Snow Messes Commute for Northeast

A vast, heavy winter storm that dumped record-shattering snow on Chicago and the Midwest was making for a messy Monday in New York City and Boston, crippling airports and hindering the recovery from last week's blizzard.

Millions of Americans were in the path of the storm, which was already delivering snow in New England before dawn even as it continued to pummel the Midwest and Ohio.

Appropriately enough for Groundhog Day, many snow-wearied areas of the Northeast and New England were getting their third hit of powder in little over a week.

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"The morning commute is going to be disastrous," Weather Channel lead forecaster Kevin Roth said. "Boston will have a bad evening commute as well, but New York City should be done by the evening."

More than 2,300 flights were already canceled Monday, according to Flightaware, with Chicago O'Hare, Newark, Boston and New York La Guardia among the worst affected.

School was canceled for Monday in Chicago and Boston, and snow emergencies were declared for much of New England, NECN reported.

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In Connecticut, Gov. Dannel Malloy ordered all non-essential state employees to report to work at 10 a.m. Monday in an effort to avoid the brunt of the storm, NBC Connecticut reported.

New York City is expecting between three and five inches of snow by the end of Monday, while Boston would see between eight and 12 inches, Roth said — but that was harder to predict.

"It's a bit like the issue we had last week with New York City being right on the fence about how much snowfall they will get as opposed to just rain," Roth said. "Only this time the city on the fence is Boston."

It was Chicago's sixth biggest snowstorm on record, with 18 inches expected to have fallen by dawn Monday.

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Detroit set a new daily snowfall record Sunday at 13.7 inches, while Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was hit by 10.4 inches, breaking a century-old record of nine inches set in 1915.

Falling snow made visibility in the city poor at about 3 a.m. local time (4 a.m. ET) but the storm was expected to move into northwest Indiana and Ohio during the morning.

"In New York City, commuters from the north are likely to be traveling through snow but coming up from New Jersey it will probably be in the rain," Roth said.

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The band of snow will be followed by dry but colder temperatures.

In Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, the Groundhog Day forecast was for light rain with temperatures in the mid 30s, with rain snow showers by late morning and continuing through the afternoon. An inch of snow is possible Monday, the Weather Channel said.

NBC News' Elisha Fieldstadt and Kyle Scott contributed to this report.