By Kevin Murphy
KANSAS CITY (Reuters) - The northeastern United States braced for the second major snow storm in a week on Monday after a huge winter system dumped more than a foot (30 cm) of snow in the Chicago area, closing schools from the Midwest to New England.
Chicago Public Schools, the country's third-largest public school system, along with districts in Detroit, Boston and Providence, Rhode Island, canceled classes for Monday as the National Weather Service issued storm warnings and watches continued from western Iowa into upper New England.
The storm followed a blizzard last week that pummeled parts of the East Coast, especially New England states, where up to three feet (90 cm) of snow piled up. New York City had prepared for a major storm but was spared the brunt.
Forecasts ranged from about three to six inches (7.6 to 15 cm) in New York City, where light snow began falling mid-evening on Sunday potentially complicating travel for millions of morning commuters, to well over a foot (30.5 cm) in Lowell, Massachusetts, a city north of Boston in an area that was walloped with 30 inches (76 cm) of snow less than a week ago.
A foot (30.5 cm) of snow was predicted for Boston, which was buried under two feet of snow on Tuesday.
Forecasts prompted Massachusetts officials to postpone Monday's proceedings in the murder trial of ex-New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez. In Chicago, U.S District Court, Northern District of Illinois sessions were also canceled.
Forecasters said snow was expected to fall as the rate of one to two inches (2.5 to 5 cm) per hour in southern New England at the storm's peak, making for extremely hazardous driving conditions.
Significant accumulations from Albany, N.Y., to Maine were expected to be exacerbated by winds of up to 40 mph (65 kph), the National Weather Service said.
The storm figured in cancellations of about 2,000 flights and another 2,100 delays, largely in Chicago, according to the online site FlightStats.
In Champaign, Illinois, 68 homes were evacuated when a tanker truck overturned on Interstate 57, Gov. Bruce Rauner's office said. The tanker was found to have no hazardous material.
The storm knocked out power to nearly 20,000 customers in Illinois, the office said, and hazardous road conditions were reported in numerous states. The Ohio Turnpike banned travel on Sunday for some traffic, such as vehicles with trailers. In South Dakota, a woman died on Saturday when her car slid off an icy road, the state Department of Public Safety said.
Bitter cold weather was also forecast to follow the snow across the country.
(Reporting by Kevin Murphy in Kansas City. Additional reporting by Fiona Ortiz in Chicago, Kay Henderson in Des Moines and Todd Epp in Sioux Falls, S.D.; Editing by Chris Michaud and Nick Macfie)