DETROIT - At least one person was killed and six cars and semi-trailers set afire in a pileup of 50 to 70 vehicles on Friday in Michigan, in one of the most serious weather-related incidents in three days of snow and bitter cold throughout the Midwest and East Coast.

The accident occurred on Interstate 94 about 10 miles east of Kalamazoo, Mich., at about 10 a.m., state police said. One of the burning semis was carrying hazardous material, State Trooper O.J. Hamilton told Reuters. He said icy conditions and low visibility contributed to the crash.

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Another semi truck hauling fireworks was near another truck that was on fire.

"Emergency crews are working to extract this semi to resolve any further issues," the Michigan State Police said in a statement.

Interstate 94, a major highway that connects the Great Lakes with the mountainous areas in the center of the country, was shut down in both directions.

It was the most severe incident so far in three days of bitter cold and snow that have gripped the Midwest and the East Coast as a mass of Arctic air moves into the United States causing snowflakes as far south as Florida.

Blowing snow cut visibility and forced road closures around the Midwest and on the East Coast early on Friday, and icy conditions led to accidents in Wisconsin as well as Michigan.

Forecasters said the cold weather will persist until Sunday.

Schools reopened in Chicago and other cities on Friday after two days of closures to protect children from the risk of frostbite due to wind chill driving temperatures as low as 25 degrees below zero.

Daytime temperatures were forecast to remain below 10 degrees in parts of the upper Midwest, the Ohio Valley and New England, the National Weather Service said. Light snow was expected across much of the Northeast on Friday, and New York City awoke to horizontal wind swirls of snow.

The service warned of dangerous, windy winter storms in Michigan that would leave behind a foot or more of snow.