A massive storm billed as the worst in decades barreled toward the Northeast on Wednesday, paralyzing big cities and small towns alike with deep snow and thick ice, stranding hundreds of motorists and shuttering airports and schools across the Midwest. The 20.2 inches of snow that fell by midday in Chicago made the storm the city’s third-largest on record, with still more coming down. A foot or more was dumped on parts of Missouri, Indiana, Kansas, Oklahoma and upstate New York. New York City was expected to get up to three-quarters of an inch of ice before the mix of sleet and freezing rain warms up to rain. The storm was, if not unprecedented, extraordinarily rare, National Weather Service meteorologist Thomas Spriggs said. Groundskeeper Josh Pemberton clears a path near the MU Quadrangle on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011 in Columbia, Mo. A sign warns people of ice during the morning commute along in lower Manhattan on February 2, 2011 in New York City. The icy weather is part of a massive winter storm that stretches from New Mexico to Maine and has brought freezing rain and blizzard conditions to more than 30 states. Michigan State University students Andrew Rennaker and Emily Vezina have fun in the heavy snowfall as they sled down the street in East Lansing, Mich. on Wednesday.