(NBC News)  Snow plows are out in force across the Upper Midwest as an early season snowfall blankets the region.

Motorists in Forest Lake, Minnesota found the commute slow going Monday morning.

In Duluth a 16-car crash was blamed on the slick, icy roads.

As much as a foot of snow is forecast in some areas over the coming days with winter storm warnings stretching from northern Idaho to Michigan.

The weather pattern is part of a dip in the jet stream that is allowing cold arctic air to push south across Canada and into the U.S., where temperatures will be dropping across much of the country.

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