The National Weather Service says a storm stretching from the nation's capital to Colorado could bring the highest snow totals in several years to sections of Missouri and Illinois.

The Weather Service has a winter storm warning in effect through 6 p.m. today for west-central Missouri and east-central Kansas, including the Kansas City area, and snow could accumulate to 4 to 6 inches. Driving conditions are expected to be poor.

Also, the storm is expected to drop 8 to 12 inches of snow in the St. Louis area into eastern Illinois between Friday and early Sunday.

Large sections of Missouri, Illinois and Indiana are under winter weather advisories, and hazardous travel conditions are expected through most of the weekend.

Sally Johnson, a meteorologist in St. Louis, says the storm has the potential to drop the most snow in five or six years. Missouri received 10.8 inches on Jan. 5-6, 2014, and 12.4 inches on March 23-24, 2013.

The University of Missouri's flagship campus in Missouri and St. Louis University shut down Friday afternoon, along with numerous public schools. Johnson said the heaviest amounts are expected along the Interstate 70 corridor from Columbia to St. Louis.

St. Louis Lambert International Airport spokesman Jeff Lea says airlines were canceling dozens of flights through Saturday morning.

Amtrak canceled this morning’s two cross-state trains – the Missouri River Runner Nos. 314 and 311 – because of weather-related safety concerns. The two afternoon trains – No. 316 leaving Kansas City at 4 p.m. and No. 313 leaving St. Louis at 4 p.m. – are scheduled to run.

The Chicago area is expected to get between 1 and 4 inches, and much of central Illinois was expected to receive 6 to 8 inches.

The Missouri Department of Transportation said Friday that drivers in the Kansas City area should expect slick highers and that they should “slow down, expect bridges, overpasses and hills to be slick, make braking and steering movements gradually and to check your route before you head out.”

It’s Traveler Information Map is at modot.org/map. In the Kansas City area, there’s kcscout.net for information on major highway conditions.

MoDOT also has these suggestions:

• Stay back at least 100 feet from MoDOT equipment, and avoiding passing those vehicles.

• Double the distance you normally would leave behind vehicles in front of you.

• If you travel, keep your gas tank full. Carry an emergency kit – blankets, flashlight with fresh batteries, energy bars and water.