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Winter Weather Causing Problems

December 26, 2009

Treacherous weather that has plagued much of the country for days stranded road and air travelers Saturday trying to get home after Christmas and threatened flooding in parts of the East.

Storms that began dumping as much as a foot of snow in a swath from Texas to the Upper Midwest in the days before Christmas began subsiding, but blowing and drifting snow hampered visibility in many areas.

In Chicago, one of the nation's busiest travel hubs, snow and ice there in tandem with rain on the East Coast canceled or delayed more than 50 flights.

Flights were also delayed at the three major airports in the New York area, which was getting rain and patchy fog. Most delays there were weather-related but were compounded by tightened security after an airplane bombing attempt in Detroit, said Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the area's airports.

Transportation officials closed a 30-mile stretch of Interstate 70 between Goodland, Kan., and Burlington, Colo. Officials have also closed interstate highways in Nebraska, the Dakotas and Wyoming, but some reopened as the storm began to abate.

Hundreds of customers remained without power for a third day in southeastern Nebraska. Mark Becker of the Nebraska Public Power District said high winds could cause additional power failures over the weekend.

Meanwhile, parts of the East began preparations for possible flooding as rain or freezing rain fell and temperatures rose, helping to melt snow in areas where as much as 2 feet fell last weekend.

The National Weather Service posted a freezing rain advisory through the afternoon Saturday for parts of Massachusetts and Connecticut.

As temperatures rose, forecasters expected the precipitation to change completely to rain throughout most of the region.

In New Jersey, rain began falling Christmas night and was expected to continue through Sunday morning.

Minor flooding was already occurring Saturday morning at some small creeks and in areas with poor drainage. Flood warnings were in effect for most of southern Jersey through the late afternoon.

Winter weather has been blamed for more than 20 deaths across the country in the past week. One of the latest was an 81-year-old Iowa man whose body was found in a ditch Thursday after his pickup truck got stuck in the snow and he tried to walk home.

Source: AP

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