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Midwest gets as much as 15 inches of snow

| Monday, March 23, 2015, 9:45 p.m.

PRAIRIE DU CHIEN, Wis. — Spring came falling down Monday on winter-weary residents in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa, with more than a foot of new snow in some areas.

Schools in southwestern Wisconsin and southeastern Minnesota canceled classes as snowplows hit the highways and streets, and the locals fired up their snow blowers or brought out their shovels for another round.

The National Weather Service measured 15 inches of snow in the Grant County, Wis., community of Fennimore and 13 inches in neighboring Crawford County. Decorah, Iowa was dealing with 11½ inches of snow, while 10 inches fell in Rochester, Minn. A sprinkling of snow disrupted rush hour traffic in Chicago.

The accumulating snow stands in contrast to a week ago, when temperatures hit the 70s in some spots.

In Ohio, authorities said a series of crashes that occurred amid heavy snow closed down northbound Interstate 75 lanes.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol said 20 to 30 vehicles were involved in the I-75 crashes north of Dayton in the afternoon once the snow began to fly.

Media reports said two people were injured.

The northbound lanes were shut down around the Sidney exit, and traffic was moving slowly in the southbound lanes.

In Illinois, a storm brought near white-out conditions and made roadways slick, causing numerous accidents, including one involving the governor's motorcade, and blanketing the region in a layer of snow.

More than 450 flights were canceled at O'Hare International Airport, and more than 50 didn't get off the ground at Midway International Airport. Flights that were getting out were experiencing significant delays.

Reports of crashes and spin-outs started coming in after 5:30 a.m., a state police spokesman said. Some caused minor injuries, including to a state trooper traveling in Gov. Bruce Rauner's motorcade.

Police said one of the vehicles driven by a member of the State Police unit that protects the governor lost control on Interstate 55 near the Chicago suburb of Countryside around 8:15 a.m. and struck the rear tandem axle of a truck trailer. The driver was treated and released from a local hospital.

About 5 inches of snow had fallen at O'Hare by noon, when a winter weather advisory for the area expired, according to the National Weather Service. The snowfall prompted Chicago's Department of Streets and Sanitation to deploy 280 snow plows and salt spreaders, spokeswoman Molly Poppe said in a statement.

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