Ice storms, then a thick layer of snow and finally a raging, blinding wind paralyzed parts of the nation's middle section over the weekend, stranding holiday travelers in roadside motels and shelters and leaving at least 19 people dead.

In eastern Iowa, eight state highways had to be shut down as high winds churned nearly 10 inches of snow that had fallen, said Dena Gray-Fisher, a spokeswoman for the state's Department of Transportation. Two state highways remained closed on Monday.

In Minnesota, Gov. Tim Pawlenty authorized workers to open a National Guard armory in Albert Lea for travelers after gusts created whiteout conditions and the State Patrol reported more than 600 cars that had crashed or slid off roads on Saturday and Sunday.

Though the storm had ended by Monday, roads were still slick with layers of ice hidden beneath snow; on Monday morning in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area alone, State Patrol officers responded to more than 80 crashes involving vehicle damage, said Al Smith, a major with the patrol.

In the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, some towns reported more than 15 inches of wet, heavy snow.

And in northern Wisconsin, a pelting ice storm before dawn on Saturday gave way to a long, slow snowfall the rest of the weekend.

In many states, law enforcement authorities urged motorists to slow down and even to stay home if possible. With holiday plans set and suitcases packed, however, people often failed to heed the warnings.

"You'll never keep people off the roads at this time of the year," Mike Retzki, a sergeant with the Stevens Point Police Department in Wisconsin, said. "The rural roads are still very slippery. But people are used to this in this neck of the woods; so in a way, this is business as usual around here."

Law enforcement authorities across the Midwest and the Plains blamed the storm - and icy freeway exit ramps and bridges, in particular - for hundreds of car wrecks.

In many states, the authorities said a tally of fatalities connected to the storm was still being compiled. At least 19 deaths in Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Texas, Wisconsin and Wyoming had been caused by such accidents, The Associated Press reported.

Officials in many cities declared snow emergencies, meaning that cars had to be off streets to allow plowing, which made some last-minute Christmas shoppers unhappy. Many cars were towed, including 19 in Stevens Point.

Some places, like Chicago, missed the brunt of the snow, but still got the wind. Wind gusts as high as 68 miles per hour at Chicago Midway Airport on Sunday led to flying shingles, falling trees and the loss of power to thousands, Chris Gitro, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said.

Airplane flights were delayed and canceled here, in part due to a dense fog that set in before the high winds arrived, Mr. Gitro said.

By Monday evening, roads in many places were open once more. In Albert Lea, the National Guard Armory was closed, and all 52 people who had stayed there had gone on their way. There was talk, though, of the possibility of more snow in parts of the region after Christmas.