A powerful storm pushes to the Midwest with heavy snow and winds

The winter weather tormented Thanksgiving weekend travelers across the United States on Saturday, when a powerful and dangerous storm moved eastward, throwing heavy snow from parts of California to the north of the Midwest and flooding other rainy areas

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

Also in South Dakota , a small-engine plane carrying 12 people crashed, killing nine aboard and leaving three others injured. Peter Knudson of the National Transportation Safety Board said the crashed about 12:30 p.m. Saturday, shortly after taking off from Chamberlain, about 140 miles (225.3 kilometers) west of Sioux Falls. Knudson said weather would be among several factors reviewed by NTSB investigators, but no cause had yet been determined. He said inclement weather was making travel to the crash site difficult.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service said the storm was expected to throw between 6 and 12 inches (15-30 centimeters) of snow from the northern states of the Plains to Minnesota, Wisconsin and Upper Michigan.

The blizzard conditions early Saturday were already affecting High Plains. The city of Duluth, Minnesota, issued a `` warning not to travel '' starting at noon on Saturday due to a large snowstorm that he described as `` historic. ''

Duluth officials asked the public to be patient while clearing roads and recommended that drivers stay away from roads to avoid accidents and let officers respond more quickly to emergencies.

Further south, showers and thunderstorms were forecast along and ahead of the cold front, with heavy rains possible on Saturday in parts of the Tennessee and Ohio valleys.

Meteorologists said a new storm is expected to bring several feet of snow to the mountain to California, rain and gusty winds over the weekend. It is predicted that another system will be developed in mid-Atlantic Sunday, which will run from Monday to Friday.

O'Hare International and Midway International airlines in Chicago reported average delays of 15 minutes when a winter storm headed for the Midwest with heavy snow, ice and gusty winds.

The companies said they had canceled 27 flights at O'Hare and two at Midway while people hurried to get home on the busiest weekend of the year.

At Denver International Airport, there were 100 flights canceled on Saturday due to high winds.

`` Tomorrow, the airlines anticipate being the busiest travel day of the Thanksgiving period on both O'Hare and Midway, '' said Karen Pride, a spokesman for the Chicago Aviation Department. `` Everyone thinks that the day before Thanksgiving is the busiest; It is not.''

Authorities in the western states were still dealing on Saturday with the aftermath of heavy rain and snow during the busiest weekend of the year.

In Arizona, officials initially found the body of the 5-year-old boy about 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) downstream from where the vehicle they were traveling in was swept on Friday, said Gila County Sheriff's Lieutenant Virgil Dodd The second of the three children appeared later on Saturday. The sheriff's office did not provide the age and sex of the second child or the third child who was still missing on Saturday afternoon.

The agency said Saturday that two other children and two adults who were in the vehicle were rescued from a small island and the bank of the creek in the Silly National Forest northeast of Phoenix. Sheriff officials initially said that six people, including four children, were rescued Friday at locations along the creek.

Families in California took advantage of early-season snow in the Grapevine area, sledding down the slopes in Frazier Park, California. Traffic was heavy, but Interstate 5 was open in both directions when vacation travelers were heading home.

However, strong winds and ice made traveling almost impossible in other places.

A 160-kilometer (100-mile) section of Interstate 80 in Nebraska and Wyoming Closed Saturday morning due to high winds and snow. Several other roads and highways were also closed.

Back-to-back snowstorms and strong winds combined to seriously complicate travel by land across much of the rest of Wyoming, where roads were closed in the eastern and southern parts of the state because of whiteout conditions.

The National Weather Service in Wyoming reported 4 inches (10 centimeters) of snow fell in Cheyenne from 7 p.m. Friday through 10 a.m. Saturday `` that has been blown all over kingdom come by our winds, '' said meteorologist Andrew Lyons.

That was added to a foot (30 centimeters) of snow that fell before Thanksgiving.

Wind gusts of up to 50 mph (80 kph) created blizzards on the ground and freezing temperatures in some areas. A 77 mph (124 kph) wind gust was reported in the mountains between Cheyenne and Laramie, Lyons said.

All roads in and out of Casper were closed Saturday morning, including the entire 300-mile stretch (483-kilometer) of Interstate 25 in Wyoming.

The trip was also difficult in Colorado on Saturday, as winds blew around the snow that fell on previous days.

Northeastern Colorado roads were closed due to high winds, wind and drifting snow and poor visibility.

In the north Montana , more than one foot of fresh snow and strong gusts of wind are expected to combine to create conditions along the front of the Rocky Mountains.

Meteorologist Christian Cassel told the Great Falls Tribune that people could be trapped in their homes for at least one day due to almost zero visibility.

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