Winter blizzard weakens, still tough for people from Missouri to Maine

(CNN) -- Cabin fever can breed creativity.

Snowed in and separated from her husband on their 19th anniversary, military wife Martha Bond got out the pots and pans and fashioned a wedding cake out of the fresh snow that fell in her Andover, Kansas, yard, just outside of Wichita.

Her husband, Cliff Bond, is currently deployed. She texted him a photo.

"We had two weddings. We got married on February 26 and then the 5th of March, so this is marking the beginning of wedding week," she said. "I want to see if the cake will last that long without melting."

The worst of a brutal winter storm may be over for many, but plenty of residents of the Great Plains and Kansas are still coping with its effects.

Ice and falling branches downed power lines that are still to be repaired. And the heavy, wet snow made getting around difficult, whether by car or by foot.

But Bond and others tried to put a positive spin on the experience.

Jim Service of Overland Park, Kansas, is spacing out the work of clearing the white stuff.

After a warm-up session clearing Tuesday's snow, he retreated inside with a Clive Cussler novel and planned to enjoy the day off. Like many others, Service's company called off work Tuesday at the behest of state officials who warned that the storm was too dangerous for people to be on the roads.

"It's great for me," he said.

The Kansas National Guard warned that continued snowfall and gusty winds would make travel tricky through Wednesday.

Storm targets upper Midwest

Subdued, but still powerful enough to spread snow from Missouri to Maine, the system has now set its sights on Chicago. Forecasters predicted 4 to 7 inches of snow for most of the metro area by the time the storm finishes its dirty work.

Willie Johnson advised caution when clearing sidewalks and driveways of the heavy, wet snow.

"Take your time because this kind of snow they call heart-attack makers," he told CNN affiliate WLS-TV. "I mean, it will kill you."

Others left the shoveling for later, opting instead to break out the sleds.

"I love it," said John Harris, grinning from ear to ear in his Notre Dame stocking cap. "This is Chicago. This is what it should be like."

Travel Troubles

The swirling snowy mess meant headaches for travelers, especially those going into and out of the Windy City. After more than 1,000 flights were canceled on Tuesday -- 534 departures and 535 arrivals -- at Chicago's O'Hare and Midway airports, another 150 were called off early Wednesday.

Roads were still snow-covered, but improving, across northern Missouri, the state Department of Transportation said. The agency continued to discourage travel.

The storm brought up to a foot of snow to parts of eastern Kansas, Missouri and Illinois a day after plastering southern Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Winter storm watches and warnings or weather advisories were in place from a few counties in eastern Kansas to Maine.

"This storm is still a very active and dangerous storm, from Michigan into western New York and the mountains in New England are getting hit with very heavy snows, said Louis Uccellini, director of the National Weather Service.

The cold air associated with the system will linger on the East Coast through the weekend, he said.

Two storms, two weeks

It was the second major storm to rake the region in as many weeks.

About 6 inches of snow fell in Mediapolis in southeastern Iowa, CNN iReporter Rose Schmidgall said.

The high school student spent much of Tuesday shoveling snow.

"The digging was difficult and took a little while. The snow was packed really good and was heavy to scoop," she said.

But to the west, the snow was more than an inconvenience. The piling snow damaged buildings on Tuesday in Kansas and Missouri.

In Shawnee, Kansas, the roof of a horse arena collapsed under the weight of snow Tuesday morning, CNN affiliate KSHB reported. It was one of several such collapses in the region because of the wet heavy snow, the station said.

No injuries were reported in those collapses, but a person died Monday in a roof collapse in hard-hit Woodward, Oklahoma, said Mayor Roscoe Hill.

Two other deaths came in Kansas on Monday in separate weather-related accidents on Interstate 70. One accident happened in Sherman County and the other in Ellis County, the Kansas National Guard said.

More than 56,000 customers in Kansas and Missouri were without power into Tuesday evening, the Kansas National Guard said. The bulk of the outages -- 45,000 -- were in the Kansas City region straddling the border between Kansas and Missouri.

CNN's Christina Zdanowicz contributed to this report.

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