Powerful storm pushes into Midwest with heavy snow and winds

Wintry weather bedeviled Thanksgiving weekend travelers across the United States Saturday as a powerful and dangerous storm moved eastward, dumping heavy snow from parts of California to the northern Midwest and inundating other areas with rain.

Authorities found the bodies of two young children, including a 5-year-old boy, and a third child was missing in central Arizona after a vehicle was swept away while attempting to cross a runoff-swollen creek. A storm-related death also was reported in South Dakota.

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The National Weather Service said the storm was expected to drop 6 to 12 inches of snow from the northern Plains states into Minnesota, Wisconsin and Upper Michigan.

Blizzard conditions early Saturday were already buffeting the High Plains. The city of Duluth, Minnesota, issued a “no travel advisory” beginning at noon Saturday because of a major snow storm it termed “historic.”

Farther south, rain and thunderstorms were forecast along and ahead of the cold front, with heavy rainfall possible Saturday in parts of the Tennessee and Ohio Valleys.

Forecasters said a new storm is expected to bring California several feet of mountain snow, rain and gusty winds through the weekend. Another system is forecast to develop in the mid-Atlantic today, moving as a nor’easter into Monday.

Airlines at O’Hare International and Midway International in Chicago reported average delays of 15 minutes as a winter storm headed toward the Midwest.

The companies said they had canceled 27 flights at O’Hare and two at Midway as people scramble to get home on the year’s busiest travel weekend.

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At Denver International Airport, there were 100 flights canceled.

“Tomorrow, the airlines anticipate to be the busiest travel day of the Thanksgiving period at both O’Hare and Midway,” said Karen Pride, a spokeswoman for the Chicago Department of Aviation. “Everybody thinks the day before Thanksgiving is the busiest; it is not.”

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