Latest: More than 2,800 flights canceled amid winter storm

AP News
|
Posted: Dec 28, 2015 10:56 PM
Latest: More than 2,800 flights canceled amid winter storm

The latest developments on the severe storms across the U.S. (all times local):

9 p.m.

More than 2,800 flights into, out of or across the U.S. have been canceled and about 4,800 have been delayed due to the large storm system moving through the Midwest.

Flight-tracking service FlightAware showed that of the 2,855 cancellations, more than 850 were at Chicago's two main airports. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport had the third-highest number with 148 cancellations; several tornadoes touched down Saturday in the Dallas suburbs.

FlightAware reports 4,779 flights were delayed.

A typical day sees about 150 cancelations and 4,000 delays.

Heavy rain and strong winds, seen Monday in parts of Missouri, Illinois and Arkansas, are often more troubling for airlines than snowfall.

___

6:45 p.m.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says the body of a 36-year-old man has been recovered after the man was swept away while trying to cross a creek in his pickup.

On Monday, patrolmen identified the victim as Darrell Glen Sennett from McAlester.

Sennett had gone missing Sunday afternoon after trying to drive across the creek near the town of Arpelar. His roommate became stuck in a tree surrounded by swift water while trying to get to Sennett's truck. The roommate was rescued and taken to a local hospital.

Authorities found Sennett's body on the creek bank Monday afternoon.

___

5 p.m.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says the body of a 22-year-old man has been recovered and a second man is missing after the two went duck hunting and their boat capsized.

Patrol Capt. Paul Timmons confirmed Monday that rescuers discovered the body of Chase Marland from Kaw Lake in northern Oklahoma. A second man, 29-year-old Craig Strickland of Springdale, Arkansas, was still missing.

Rescue workers found the boat shortly after midnight Monday, after the two were reported missing.

Strickland is the lead singer of the Arkansas-based country-rock band Backroad Anthem, which posted on its Facebook page that he and another man were missing.

Sheriff Joel Kerns in southeast Oklahoma says rescuers also are searching for a man whose vehicle was swept off a flooded county road.

___

4:30 p.m.

The White House says President Obama has called Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to get an update on the severe weather there and to offer federal support for recovery efforts.

At least 11 people died and dozens were injured in the tornadoes that swept through the Dallas area on Saturday and caused substantial damage. Other states in the Midwest and South were also hit by severe weather in the past week.

White House spokesman Eric Schultz says Obama offered condolences for those who lost their lives and for those who lost their homes in the tornadoes.

Obama made the call from Hawaii, where he is vacationing during the holidays. Schultz says the president made clear he has directed his team to work closely with the governor's staff to provide whatever assistance may be needed.

___

3:30 p.m.

Arkansas officials say a 31-year-old man has died in a storm-related drowning.

The Pope County Sheriff's office said Monday deputies located the vehicle the man had been driving after he was reported missing. Rescue workers located his body downstream from there. His name was not released.

The National Weather Service is surveying damage in southern Arkansas after severe storms hit the state on Sunday. Heavy rainfall is causing major flooding in many areas.

___

3 p.m.

Authorities in Georgia say they have recovered the body of a man whose car was swept away when floodwater overtook it.

Gordon County Chief Deputy Robert Paris said the car was located late Sunday, but it wasn't safe for divers to reach it in the swift-moving waters until Monday.

The man's name wasn't released.

Separately, a body was recovered from a large pond in the southeast part of Gordon County. Authorities say the person was kayaking and didn't appear to be wearing a life jacket.

Authorities were investigating how the person died, but Maj. Stephen Adams with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources' Law Enforcement Division said the death didn't appear storm-related.

(Clarifies previous item that attributed second death to severe weather)

___

2:45 p.m.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says the state's death toll from days of pounding rainfall has risen to 10, and he expects that number to grow.

Nixon said Monday the majority of the victims drowned after driving into floodwaters.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol says six of the deaths happened in south-central Missouri's Pulaski County. That's where four international soldiers from Fort Leonard Wood drowned, as did two other people when their vehicle was swept away 10 miles from the soldiers.

State officials say there have been more than 200 road closures statewide because of the storms, as well as more than 30 water rescues.

___

1:30 p.m.

More than 1,400 flights have been canceled across the U.S. and 2,600 have been delayed due to the large storm system moving through the middle part of the country.

Flight-tracking service FlightAware showed that nearly half of the cancellations were at Chicago's two main airports. Another large chunk came from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport; several tornadoes touched down Saturday in the Dallas suburbs.

Other cities with an unusually large number of cancellations included Houston, Denver, Detroit, Milwaukee, Kansas City, St. Louis, Oklahoma City, and Lubbock, Texas.

A typical day sees about 150 cancelations and 4,000 delays.

Heavy rain and strong winds, like forecast for parts of Missouri, Illinois and Arkansas on Monday, are often more troubling for airlines than snowfall.

___

1 p.m.

Officials have identified seven of the eight people who died when a tornado hit the Dallas suburb of Garland, including a 1-year-old.

The Dallas County medical examiner's office says those killed were 1-year-old Kamryn Crain, 27-year-old Petra Ruiz, 30-year-old Kimberly Tippett, 32-year-old Lashondra Whitaker, 42-year-old Sharva Sanders, 58-year-old Timothy Harris and 77-year-old Cecil Lowrie.

The National Weather Service has said an EF-4 tornado, which is the second-most powerful with winds up to more than 200 mph, hit the community at about 6:45 p.m. Saturday.

At least 11 died when tornadoes swept through the Dallas area. Three people died in Collin County.

___

12:30 p.m.

Authorities in Georgia have confirmed two more deaths due to floodwaters.

Gordon County Chief Deputy Robert Paris said they've recovered the body of a man whose car was swept away when water overtook his car. Paris said the car was located late Sunday, but it wasn't safe for divers to reach it in the swift-moving waters until Monday.

The man's name wasn't released. Paris said he was from Chattooga County.

Paris said the second body was recovered Monday at Self Lake, and authorities were investigating how that person died.

Forecasters say more rain was expected Monday in the county about 60 miles northwest of Atlanta.

___

11:30 a.m.

Texas officials say Interstate 40, the main east-west highway across the Panhandle, has reopened.

Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Cindy Barkley says the interstate reopened Monday morning. She said Texas Department of Transportation crews have been out to clear the roads.

The Texas Department of Transportation says, though, that many roads across West Texas and the Panhandle remain closed with snow-packed and icy conditions.

___

10:45 a.m.

Texas officials say traffic on part of Interstate 10 in the western part of the state is slowly moving again after coming to a standstill due to icy conditions and multiple accidents.

Texas Department of Transportation spokesman Gene Powell said Monday morning that traffic was moving now, "very slowly" in the area where Interstate 10 splits into Interstate 20. Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Elizabeth Carter said traffic had been backed up for about 13 miles.

Powell said traffic became snarled Sunday night and there were people who were "virtually stationary" in their vehicles overnight. He said Monday a fuel truck was patrolling the area.

Vito Randazzo, of Alpine, California, was driving across the country and was among those who got stuck, beginning at about 8 p.m. Sunday. Around 9 a.m. Monday he was able to see where he could drive across a median and get onto a service road.

___

10:15 a.m.

Oklahoma emergency officials say more than 50 people have been injured and about 175,000 are without power after a powerful winter storm blanketed much of the state with ice and brought flooding to eastern parts of the state.

Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management spokeswoman Keli Cain says there were no immediate reports of weather-related deaths, but the Oklahoma Highway Patrol is searching for two hunters missing in Kay County.

Patrol spokesman Lt. John Vincent says the men were reportedly in a boat on Kaw Lake. Vincent says rescuers found the capsized boat, but there were no signs of the men. The search resumed at daybreak Monday.

Car accidents from icy roads were reported across mostly central and western Oklahoma.

___

10:15 a.m.

Eastbound Interstate 40 is being reopened in eastern New Mexico after an extended closure due to the major storm that pummeled parts of the state.

The Department of Transportation says the freeway initially reopened Monday morning in Santa Rosa and Tucumcari. The next stages being reopened by late Monday morning are in Moriarity and Albuquerque.

The department also says its crews worked throughout the night to clear the highway, which was closed in eastern New Mexico over the weekend.

Elsewhere, some highways remain icy and snow-packed and the department is advising drivers to use caution.

___

10 a.m.

Residents in and around the small St. Louis-area town of West Alton are evacuating as the Mississippi River nears a potential record crest.

An unusual amount of late-fall rain had the river already high before torrential downpours that began Saturday. Some parts of eastern Missouri have received 6 inches of rain or more over the past three days. Heavy rain was falling again Monday.

West Alton officials on Sunday ordered evacuations, saying the expected crest of 38.9 feet on Thursday will top the levee by nearly 5 feet.

West Alton, about 20 miles north of St. Louis, has about 520 residents.

___

9:35 a.m.

Forecasters at the National Weather Service in Mobile, Alabama, say a tornado has been reported in northwest Florida.

Gene Jacobi says there have been no reports of injuries or property damage in Molino.

Forecasters say the line of severe weather is expected to make its way across the Panhandle on Monday. Some areas have reported local flooding from heavy rains overnight and the previous week.

On Pensacola Beach, the National Park Service closed some flood-prone roads in Gulf Islands National Seashore because of potential flooding.

___

8:45 a.m.

Nearly 900 flights have been canceled across the U.S. and another 500 have been delayed due to the large storm system moving through the middle part of the country.

Flight-tracking service FlightAware showed that more than a third of the cancellations were at Chicago's two main airports. Another large chunk came from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport; several tornadoes touched down Saturday in the Dallas suburbs.

Other cities with an unusually large number of cancellations included Houston, Denver, Detroit, Kansas City, Missouri, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and Lubbock, Texas.

A typical day sees about 150 cancelations and 4,000 delays.

Heavy rain and strong winds, like forecast for parts of Missouri, Illinois and Arkansas on Monday, are often more troubling for airlines than snowfall.

___

8:35 a.m.

The Texas Department of Transportation says many roadways across West Texas and the Panhandle have been closed due to ice and blizzard conditions, with traffic coming to standstill where Interstate 10 splits into Interstate 20.

The department said early Monday morning Interstates 40 and 27 were closed and that travelers should expect long delays across the region.

Vito Randazzo, of Alpine, California, is driving across the country and was among those who got stuck on Interstate 10.

He said Monday morning that he'd been sitting on the icy interstate since 8 p.m. Sunday and that "everybody's just sleeping in their cars."

He also said he couldn't believe the "road was left in this condition" — snow-packed and icy — and that he had water, but not food.

National Weather Service officials say that while the snow has stopped across the area, temperatures are to remain near or below freezing.

___

7:35 a.m.

Authorities say more than 180 Missouri roads are closed because of flooding.

The Missouri State Department of Transportation says the closures include eastbound lanes of Interstate 70 in St. Charles County. Though both lanes closed Sunday because of rising flood waters, the westbound lanes reopened Monday morning.

Several bridges in southeastern Missouri counties also are closed because of flooding.

The National Weather Service said three to six inches of rain fell during the weekend, and up to four inches more is expected through Monday.

___

7:25 a.m.

Officials in Birmingham, Alabama, say more than 70 structures sustained some type of damage after a tornado touched down on Christmas.

City spokesman April Odom said a preliminary assessment found the storm damaged 72 structures in the Jefferson Avenue area, ranging from minor damage to full destruction.

Other parts of the city saw damage, too, and assessments will be completed this week.

Forecasters more storms are in the forecast for most of Alabama on Monday, and a tornado watch is in effect until noon CST for more than 30 counties.

___

8 a.m.

Officials in Mississippi are reporting downed trees across a highway and a roof blown off a house from a storm about 20 miles northwest of Hattiesburg.

Covington County Emergency Manager Greg Sanford says the damage happened before dawn Monday near the town of Seminary. The area was under a tornado warning at the time, but no tornado has been confirmed.

Warnings were posted as a squall line moved west to east across Mississippi.

Statewide, more than 6,800 power customers lacked electricity at 6 a.m. Monday.

Northern Mississippi residents are still cleaning up from a tornado that struck Wednesday and killed 10 people in the state.

___

6:50 a.m.

Oklahoma highway officials say many roads are impassable because of wintry weather, downed power lines or flooding.

Parts of western and central Oklahoma are under a winter storm warning until midday Monday, while flooding is a major concern in the southern and eastern part of the state.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation says roads in northwest Oklahoma and Interstate 35 in central Oklahoma are slick and hazardous.

The National Weather Service says "disastrous" flooding will occur in eastern Oklahoma, where some areas received up to a foot of rain over the weekend. The state DOT says high water has caused the closure of some roads in counties in the southern and eastern part of the state.

___

6:30 a.m.

Parts of 11 states in the middle of the country are under a winter storm warning as the weather system that spawned tornadoes in Texas and flooding in Missouri moves on.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning for southern and eastern parts of Missouri, including St. Louis, and a small section of northern Arkansas. Most of Arkansas, eastern Oklahoma, central Missouri and central Illinois are under a flood warning.

Forecasters say Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and parts of Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas will see winter weather conditions ranging from heavy snow to ice, accompanied by gusty winds.

Parts of the Southeast will see rain, while severe weather is possible in Mississippi.

___

2:30 a.m.

Blizzard-like conditions have led to the closure of most of Interstate 40 from Albuquerque east across the Texas Panhandle.

New Mexico State Police spokeswoman Sgt. Elizabeth Armijo said Sunday night that the stretch of interstate from Albuquerque to the Texas border would be closed through at least Monday afternoon. She urged travelers passing through New Mexico to use Interstate 10 instead.

In Texas, the Texas Department of Public Safety says only a small section of the highway around Amarillo remains open. Texas State Trooper Cindy Barkley says deteriorating conditions forced authorities to indefinitely close the highway for about 100 miles east of Amarillo to Oklahoma.

I-40 is the main east-west highway through the state's Panhandle.

The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning until 9 a.m. Monday for the Panhandle and several counties in New Mexico. Authorities say that even in areas where the warning has expired, residual blowing and drifting is expected and will make conditions dangerous.