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News / Nation & World

Storm threatens snow in the Midwest, thunder in the South. Other parts of the US dig out

A major spring storm is threatening parts of the central United States with heavy snow in its northern reaches and thunderstorms and possible tornadoes in the South

By STEVE LeBLANC, Associated Press
Published: March 25, 2024, 8:34am
2 Photos
A man walks his dog down Main Street in Brattleboro, Vt., on Saturday, March 23, 2024.  New England is battling a mix of wind, rain, sleet and heavy snow across the region Saturday with more than a foot of snow expected in ski county, but mostly rain, wind and possible flooding in southern areas and along the coast.
A man walks his dog down Main Street in Brattleboro, Vt., on Saturday, March 23, 2024. New England is battling a mix of wind, rain, sleet and heavy snow across the region Saturday with more than a foot of snow expected in ski county, but mostly rain, wind and possible flooding in southern areas and along the coast. (Kristopher Radder /The Brattleboro Reformer via AP) Photo Gallery

A major spring storm threatened parts of the central U.S. on Monday with heavy snow in its northern reaches and thunderstorms and possible tornadoes in the South.

Other parts of the country began recovering from their own severe weather, from hail and flooding in California to heavy snow, flooding and freezing rain in the Northeast. Tens of thousands of people still lacked power in Maine, where a storm coated parts of the state in thick ice.

The new storm is expected to bring strong winds, sleet, freezing rain and snow to a broad swath from the Dakotas to the Gulf Coast through Tuesday. A blizzard warning was issued for parts of South Dakota and Nebraska.

There is a greater than 70% chance of at least 8 inches (20 centimeters) of snow from central South Dakota to northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin, the National Weather Service said. Snow could fall at a rate of 2 inches (5 centimeters) per hour, it said.

Heavy snow had already fallen Sunday in Minnesota, where the state patrol reported more than 300 crashes, at least one of them fatal. A total of 8.2 inches was recorded at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport Sunday, breaking the old record for the date of 6.8 inches (17.2 centimeters) in 1996.

The snow turned into rain early Monday in Minneapolis, making for a slushy morning commute.

Severe thunderstorms with a threat for tornadoes and other damaging winds were possible in east Texas and the Lower Mississippi Valley. Strong storms, some producing tornado warnings, had already made their way through parts of Oklahoma and Texas on Sunday night.

Police across the Northeast reported hundreds of traffic accidents over the weekend as cars spun out and drivers grappled with icy roads. New York City, Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Boston also saw heavy rain and flooding.

Airlines were catching up after the combination of sleet, freezing rain and wet, heavy snow delayed and canceled flights.

Vermont, New Hampshire and most of Maine got buried in snow that measured more than 2 feet (0.6 meters) in some areas, toppling trees and causing car crashes. Tens of thousands of people from Maine to New York remained without power early Monday.

Repair crews in Maine had succeeded in cutting outages from 200,000 over the weekend to less than 100,000 Monday morning.

Nearly three-quarters of an inch of ice was recorded at Portland’s airport, said Justin Arnott, of the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine. But the weather outlook was good for utility workers, with no bitter cold in the forecast and no fast melt that could threaten flooding.

Areas farther inland got fluffy snow coveted by skiers. Bryant Pond, Maine, recorded 25 inches, and Pinkham Notch, New Hampshire, had just shy of 30 inches, Arnott said.

In New York City, where more than 3.5 inches (9 centimeters) of rain fell Saturday, floodwaters snarled subway service, closed part of a major parkway and trapped motorists on roads in Central Park. On Fifth Avenue, a giant tree fell over several cars.

Snow also fell Sunday night over parts of northern Arizona, the Grand Canyon and Flagstaff.

Heavy rain and quarter-size hail fell in Southern California on Sunday. A 35-year-old woman was rescued after being swept away in the storm-swollen Los Angeles River, fire officials said. She was airlifted to a hospital with minor injuries and hypothermia.

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