KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For the second time in a week, a major winter storm paralyzed parts of the nation’s midsection Tuesday, dumping a fresh layer of heavy, wet snow atop cities still choked with piles from the previous system and making travel perilous from the Oklahoma panhandle to the Great Lakes.

The weight of the snow strained power lines and cut electricity to more than 100,000 homes and businesses. At least three deaths were blamed on the blizzard.

The Missouri Department of Transportation issued a rare “no travel” advisory, urging people to stay off highways except in case of a dire emergency. Conditions were so bad that some snowplows slid into ditches, underlining the danger even to well-equipped travelers.

“It’s straight hell. It’s snowing, blowing, drifting, everything,” said Robert Branscecum, a trucker from Campton, Ill., who was hauling Walmart merchandise to Dallas. He had been stranded since Monday evening at Beto Junction, about 80 miles southwest of Kansas City.

“The cars are stuck in the parking lot. Some of the trucks that tried to leave got stuck,” he said. “I’m not leaving anytime soon.”

Up to 10 inches had fallen in and around Kansas City, Mo., by the time the snow tapered off before midday. Mayor Sly James declared a state of emergency.

For a second straight week, schoolchildren, government workers and others caught a break as most schools and office buildings were closed. Hospitals closed outpatient centers and urgent-care clinics.

Although the amount of snow was not unusual for late February, the snow was so heavy it stressed everything it fell on, especially the electrical grid. Power was slowly being restored as the thick clouds moved on.

Fueled by a strong low pressure system, the storm was expected to drop up to 6 inches of snow on Chicago before crawling east across Michigan toward northern New England