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Midwest hit by its first major snowstorm of season

By The Associated Press

This article was published December 20, 2012 at 7:48 a.m.

Heavy snow pounding Plains, Pacific Northwest

A snowstorm moved Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, from the Rockies to the Plains, shutting down portions of at least two major interstates. At the same time, parts of the Pacific Northwest could see two feet of snow.
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— The first major snowstorm of the season began its slow eastward march across the Midwest early Thursday, leaving at least three people dead, creating treacherous driving conditions and threatening to disrupt some of the nation’s busiest airports ahead of the holiday weekend.

Forecasters warned that heavy snow coupled with strong winds would create blizzard conditions for morning commuters from Kansas to Wisconsin, after blanketing the Rocky Mountains earlier in the week.

On the southern edge of the storm system, high winds wreaked havoc, damaging homes and downing trees across Arkansas, the National Weather Service said.

A powerful storm peeled the roofs off buildings and toppled trucks in Mobile, Ala., but injured no one.

Tornado warnings remained in effect in parts of Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama early Thursday.

The storm dropped nearly a foot of snow in Des Moines, but the storm wasn’t as dangerous as earlier feared because everyone had good warning of the approaching havoc, said Kevin Skow, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Des Moines. But wind might become a concern, he warned.

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