Arctic air pushing heavy snow into Midwest

Last Updated Nov 10, 2014 8:54 AM EST

Winter is starting six weeks early in the upper Midwest, where the front edge of a gigantic arctic air front is pushing into the region.

This cold blast will affect more than 200 million Americans, reports Minneapolis affiliate WCCO's Rachel Slavik.

The first storm of the season is already bearing down on Minneapolis and has the potential to be the most significant fall storm since Halloween 1991. Bands of snow will reach across at least six states, causing headaches for morning commuters. But the heaviest snow is forecast to fall in time for the late afternoon commute home, at a clip of nearly 2 inches per hour.

Some school districts in Minnesota cancelled classes.

Wind will also be a factor, with gusts up to 25 mph blowing snow across roadways. Slippery roads bedeviled morning commuters in Minnesota and in parts of Wisconsin.

Minneapolis began prepping for winter months ago, and spent the last few days transitioning some of their trucks to combat the snow. But despite the presence of plows and salt trucks treating the roads, drivers are encouraged to take it slow.

"It might be a little harder to see if the snow is coming down hard," a Minnesota Department of Transportation worker said. "How are you going to manage that when you're driving? Folks need to slow down; they need to add time to their travel."

After this system moves out of the region, portions of the Midwest will brace for a significant drop in temperatures, including in Minneapolis, where single digit lows are forecast for the rest of the week.