A major winter storm system slammed portions of the Plains and Midwest Thursday, dumping over a foot of snow in some areas. That system is threatening to move into New England Friday which could make it that region’s 3rd major winter storm in as many weeks. Boston may see over 6 inches of snow this weekend while up to 12 inches could fall along the country’s coastline between Boston and Portland, Maine.

There were winter storm advisories and warnings issued stretching from Colorado to Illinois as the powerful system churned across the country, dumping heavy snow and bringing with it wind gusts of between 20 and 30 miles per hour. Travel conditions across the affected area were very hazardous Thursday, prompting officials in several states to urge residents to stay off the roadways. Salt trucks and snow plows were out in full force across the Plains and Midwest Thursday as the heavy, blowing snow lashed that portion of the country.

Possible power outages that may occur from the snow and ice are prompting electric companies across the affected areas to mobilize crews. Local officials across the Midwest are reminding residents that if they lose power to be careful with lighting and heating their homes. People are being told to make sure they blow out candles if they leave their homes and to not attempt to heat their homes using ovens as carbon monoxide poisoning can occur.

The storm dumped over a foot of snow in Kansas, stranding hundreds of motorists on highways and forcing airports to ground dozens of flights. That same system moved into the Midwest Thursday afternoon, blanketing states from Minnesota to Ohio with a mix of wet snow, sleet and freezing rain. As of Thursday night, about 60 million people or 20 percent of the population of the United States were under winter storm warnings, watches and advisories.

A state of emergency was declared in Missouri as snow, sleet and ice wreaked havoc there. In Kansas, a 250 mile stretch of highway was closed down Thursday, prompting two dozen National Guard members to search Interstate 70 for stranded vehicles. The huge snowstorm that first turned Arizona golf courses white on Wednesday, closed down roadways, airports and schools as it picked up power and churned east across America’s breadbasket. The storm now has its sights on the Northeast which has been hammered by snowstorms the last two weekends.

Updated: February 22, 2013 — 4:10 pm

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