Storm system brings flooding, freezing rain, snow to Midwest

CHICAGO (AP) — A storm system that’s brought rain, ice and snow to the Midwest and Great Plains was blamed for fatal crashes in three states, including an accident that left four people dead in Nebraska.

The storm system stretched from Texas, where National Weather Service officials say three tornadoes hit, to the Great Lakes states and forced some schools to close. The weather service issued winter weather advisories for parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, North Dakota, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Flood warnings were in effect in Illinois, Indiana and Michigan with flood watches in Texas and Arkansas.

Two twisters struck early Tuesday in a rural area near Joshua, Texas, destroying at least two mobile homes and severely damaging several others. A mother and her disabled daughter were injured when one tornado demolished their mobile home.

The third tornado struck a short time later in the Dallas suburb of DeSoto. No injuries were reported there. The weather service said all three tornadoes were weak EF0 ones with winds ranging from 65 to 85 mph (105 to 137 kph).

After the tornadoes came the rain. Up to 4½ inches of it fell in the Dallas-Fort Worth area by 8 p.m. Tuesday, causing some flooding.

Speed and slippery pavement caused a Tuesday morning crash between a pickup truck and a semitrailer that killed four people on Interstate 80 in eastern Nebraska, police said. The three men and one woman killed were from Colorado, authorities said. Roads were icy and snowy after the storm system passed through overnight.

The Kansas Highway Patrol said a 38-year-old woman died and two other people were injured in a collision on an icy highway late Monday. In Minnesota, state police say winter weather has contributed to 400 crashes and 250 spinouts, including two fatal accidents. As much as a half-foot of snow is expected in some areas. Arkansas weather service forecasters say some areas could see 8 inches (20 centimeters) or more of rain this week.

In Kansas, freezing rain and ice led Gov. Jeff Colyer to cancel plans to sign a proclamation about the importance of being prepared for severe weather. The weather also caused minor power disruptions, business closings and the cancellation of school and other events.

The Mackinac Bridge, which links Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas, was closed to traffic Tuesday afternoon because of falling ice from the cables and towers. Workers were stationed at both ends of the 5-mile (8-kilometer) bridge between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron to provide instructions to travelers.

As much as 4 inches (10 centimeters) of rain fell overnight Monday into Tuesday in the Chicago area, and more rain was falling Tuesday afternoon. The heavy rain combined with melting snow and frozen ground will lead to rising waters on area streams and rivers, forecasters said, creating the potential for flash flooding.

Weather service officials urged motorists not to drive onto flooded roadways and to find alternate routes.

Schools in Missouri and Wisconsin canceled classes or delayed start times Tuesday. High water closed roads in Michigan.

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