The storm felt like a rude surprise after an unseasonably warm and dry November in parts of the region. The massive system is the first major blast of wintry weather for many parts of the Midwest.
"I've been dreading this day," said Kim Brust, shoveling the sidewalk in front of his Minneapolis home before sunrise Wednesday. "I was starting to enjoy the global warming."
While an inconvenience for many, others took an opportunity to play.
Winds were expected to diminish Wednesday evening across the Midwest and blizzard warnings were nearly over. But dangerously cold conditions were to follow with temperatures falling to near or below zero overnight.