Two people were killed after a winter storm battered the northern Midwest region of the United States on Friday, burying the city of Chicago under 23 cm of snow, Reuters reported.

The snow caused dozens of crashes on highways in Chicago, the third-largest city in the US, and nearly 1,600 flights were cancelled. Most of the cancellations affected the O’Hare and Midway airports in Chicago and the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, according to

“We are getting more snow today [Friday], tomorrow [Saturday] and Sunday than we have normally gotten in the last two winters in any one period of time,” CNN quoted Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel as saying. The city’s top priority, he added, is ensuring the safety of its citizens. “Whether that is young kids, homeless, elderly, sick, commuters – in every capacity we are responding and ensuring that people are able to handle this weather.”

The city has received 12 or more inches of snow on only nine days since 1884, CNN reported. In 2011, a snowstorm brought 20 inches of snow over two days while 16.2 inches of snow blanketed the city after a storm in February 2015.