MILWAUKEE (AP) — Heavy snow and powerful wind created blizzard-like conditions Monday across parts of the Midwest, prompting officials to cancel about 1,000 flights at Chicago's airports and close hundreds of schools. But forecasters warned the most dangerous weather is yet to come: frigidly low temperatures that the region hasn't seen in a quarter century.

Snowplow drivers had trouble keeping up with the snow in Minnesota and Wisconsin, where some areas got as much as 15 inches. Chicago-area commuters woke up to heavy snowfall, with more than 5 inches already on the ground. In Michigan, non-essential government offices were closed, including the Capitol.

But the snow is only "part one, and maybe even the easier part" because temperatures will plummet over the next three days, said Brian Hurley, a meteorologist with the Weather Prediction Center.

Wednesday is expected to be the worst. Wind chills in northern Illinois could fall to negative 55 degrees, which the National Weather Service called "possibly life threatening." Minnesota temperatures could hit minus 30 degrees with a wind chill of negative 60 degrees.

"You're talking about frostbite and hypothermia issues very quickly, like in a matter of minutes, maybe seconds," Hurley said.

The potentially record-breaking low temperature forecast in Milwaukee is negative 28 degrees, with a wind chill as low as negative 50 degrees. The current record of minus 26 degrees was set in 1996.

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