DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- The first widespread snowstorm of the season crawled across the Midwest on Thursday, with whiteout conditions stranding holiday travelers and sending drivers sliding over slick roads -- including into a fatal 25-vehicle pileup in Iowa.
The storm, which dumped a foot of snow in parts of Iowa and Wisconsin, was part of a system that began in the Rockies earlier in the week before trekking into the Midwest. It was expected to move across the Great Lakes overnight before moving into Canada.
The storm led airlines to cancel about 1,000 flights ahead of the Christmas holiday -- relatively few compared to past big storms, though the number was climbing. [30 photos total]

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1
Snow-covered cars in a parking lot greet early morning risers in Madison, Wis. as a severe winter storm moves through the upper Midwest Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012. (Wisconsin State Journal / John Hart) #
2
A local resident clears snow from his driveway after an overnight snowfall left many schools and businesses closed for the day, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, in Urbandale, Iowa. (AP / Charlie Neibergall) #
3
Wayne Stuberg cleans the sidewalk from the deep snow in front of his home in Omaha Neb., Thursday Dec. 20, 2012. The first major snowstorm of the season began its slow eastward march across the Midwest early Thursday, creating treacherous driving conditions and threatening to disrupt some of the nation's busiest airports ahead of the holiday weekend. (Omaha World-Herald / Matt Miller) #
4
A towing crew from Moody's of Rochester, Minn. hooks up a tanker trailer truck that lost control and landed in the median of U.S. 52 North near Oronocco, Minn. Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012. (The Rochester Post-Bulletin / Jerry Olson) #
5
Snow clearing crews in Pine Island, Minn were out early trying to clear roads before morning commuters headed to work on Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012. (The Rochester Post-Bulletin / Jerry Olson) #
6
With schools closed due to the season's heaviest snowfall to date, Candida Lopez makes her way to a friends house to spend the day Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012 in Rochester, Minn. (The Rochester Post-Bulletin / Jerry Olson) #
7
From left, Daniel Meier, 11, Matthew Thorn, 11, and Logan Smith, 12 all of Winona, Minn., share a sled while sledding down the hill at Bluffside Park Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, in Winona, Minn. (AP Photo/ Winona Daily News, Joe Ahlquist) (Winona Daily News / Joe Ahlquist) #
8
Covered in steadily falling snow, Colman Devine makes his way home from an overnight work shift in Madison, Wis., as a severe winter storm hits the upper Midwest Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012. (Wisconsin State Journal / John Hart) #
9
Erica DeRosa, manager of the Plaza Tavern, shovels snow outside the popular bar near the University of Wisconsin campus on Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, in Madison, Wis. DeRosa likened the heft of the snow to wet cement, saying she shoveled three times before the bar opened at 10:30 a.m. to cut down on the weight. (AP Photo/ Scott Bauer) (AP / Scott Bauer) #
10
Steve Gordon of Madison, Wis., walks his dogs along Grandview Blvd. on the city's south side as a steady snowfall moves throughout the area Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012. (Wisconsin State Journal / John Hart) #
11
State Patrol officer Tim Freden investigates the wreckage from a rollover crash on Interstate 90 east of Austin, Minn., Thursday morning, Dec. 20, 2012. (The Daily Herald / Matt Peterson) #
12
Blowing snow reduces visibility as motorists wait for a light to change in Lawrence, Kan., Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012. (AP / Orlin Wagner) #
13
Traffic creeps along 11th Street near Ridgeview Road in Olathe, Kan., during the morning rush hour Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012. (The Kansas City Star / John Sleezer) #
14
This photo provided by the Iowa State Patrol shows the scene of a 25-vehicle pileup that killed three people Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012 north of Des Moines, Iowa. Authorities said drivers were blinded by blowing snow and didn't see vehicles that had slowed or stopped on Interstate 80 about 60 miles north of Des Moines. A chain reaction of crashes involving semitrailers and passenger cars closed down a section of the highway. (Iowa State Patrol /) #
15
Noah Nichols, of Des Moines, Iowa, cleans snow off his car, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP / Charlie Neibergall) #
16
Cameron Jones gets a little help after getting stuck on his way to his home in Omaha Neb., Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012. (Omaha World-Herald / Alyssa Schukar) #
17
Westbound Interstate 90 is temporarily blocked by a jack-knifed semi-trailer Thursday morning, Dec. 20, 2012, west of the Rushford, Minn., exit. (Winona Daily News / Andrew Link) #
18
Facilities director Jerry Severson clears the sidewalk of snow in front of Winona National Bank on Main Street in Winona, Minn., on Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012. (Winona Daily News / Andrew Link) #
19
Joe Roland uses a snow blower to clear snow from the sidewalk on Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, in downtown Winona, Minn. (Winona Daily News / Joe Ahlquist) #
20
Chris Sauer shovels snow from her driveway during a winter snow storm in Oregon, Wis., Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012. (Wisconsin State Journal / Amber Arnold) #
21
Topher Blunt, of Overland Park, Kan., blows snow off a client's driveway Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, in Prairie Village, Kan. (AP / Charlie Riedel) #
22
Winona State University students Zoe Reker, left, and Kara Helget walk to the Winona Post Office while it snows Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, so Helget could return some books in Winona, Minn. (Winona Daily News / Joe Ahlquist) #
23
A woman and her husband shovel their walk as a blizzard drops snow over Boulder, Colo., Wednesday Dec. 19, 2012. (AP / Brennan Linsley) #
24
A student walks on the campus of the Univerisity of Colorado as a blizzard drops snow over Boulder, Colo., Wednesday Dec. 19, 2012. (AP / Brennan Linsley) #
25
A woman walks her dog as a blizzard drops snow over Boulder, Colo., Wednesday Dec. 19, 2012. (AP / Brennan Linsley) #
26
A snow plow spreads salt and sand Wednesday Dec. 19, 2012 in Omaha, Neb. (Omaha World-Herald / Jimmie Burnett) #
27
Don Hunter shovels outside of Gerda's German Restaurant and Bakery in Omaha Neb., Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012. (Omaha World-Herald / Alyssa Schukar) #
28
Kiera Kelly curls up to sleep at Eppley Airfield in Omaha Neb., after her flight to Denver was canceled Wednesday Dec. 19, 2012. (Omaha World-Herald / Rebecca S. Gratz) #
29
Aziz Erhamah of Omaha Neb., waits for a ride home after his flight was canceled Wednesday night, Dec. 19, 2012 from Eppley Airfield in Omaha, Neb. (Omaha World-Herald / Rebecca S. Gratz) #
30
Christmas lights hang from a tree and a fence dusted with new snow, as the pre-dawn sky glows blue, in Boulder, Colo., Wednesday Dec. 19, 2012. (AP / Brennan Linsley) #

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