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Powerful winter storm system causes snowstorms and tornadoes across U.S.

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3 dead after tornado outbreak in Southeast

Fifteen deaths have so far been attributed to a winter storm system plowing through the South, Midwest and Northeast United States. Icy road conditions in the Midwest are being blamed for at least 12 deaths, while at least 27 tornadoes barreled through neighborhoods in the South, killing at least three people.

The storm first hit the Midwest over the weekend. It dumped 3 to 9 inches of snow across Missouri, leaving behind a trail of stranded cars and deadly crashes, and burying neighboring states. In the South, the same storm system produced a rare winter tornado outbreak in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

The storm system is still dropping snow and ice in the Midwest, and is expected to bring the same to the Northeast on Tuesday. The severe weather threat is expected to last into Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.


Flooding in Kentucky

The storm system has produced severe thunderstorms in the South. In Kentucky, flooding has prompted road and school closures, and central Kentucky had 3 to 4 inches of rain from Sunday night to Tuesday morning, CBS affiliate WKYT reports.

Lexington, Kentucky, police say they responded to 94 non-injury crashes, 12 injury crashes, and 23 high-water complaints on Monday due to the intense rain.

The flooding caused at least one death as of Tuesday, The Associated Press reports. Water rescue crews were called in about 8 a.m. Tuesday to aid two people, and at least one of them died, Kentucky State Police Trooper Bobby King said. 

According to the National Weather Service, the severe thunderstorms will soon taper off across the region. "The rain is expected to overspread much of the East Coast today before moving out to sea later tonight," reads an update from the NWS published Tuesday afternoon. 

By Paula Cohen

Massachusetts officials warn commuters to exercise caution after crash

Massachusetts officials have asked commuters to exercise caution while traveling after two teens sustained life-threatening injuries in a crash. Police said in a statement Tuesday a Toyota Tacoma slid off an icy roadway and into a tree Tuesday morning in Bourne. The 14- and 17-year-old were transported to Hasbro Children's Hospital in Rhode Island.

The Boston Globe reports that the National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory for much of the state until 7 p.m., warning of mixed precipitation with snow and ice accumulations. "Plan on slippery road conditions," the weather service said. "Slow down and use caution while traveling."

State police have ordered a reduced speed limit of 40 mph on certain parts of the Massachusetts Pike, the Globe reported.

"We encourage anyone who will be traveling throughout the afternoon commute to exercise safe driving behavior at all times including reducing speeds and giving plenty of space to plows and other vehicles," Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver said.

By Associated Press

Storm hits the Northeast, bringing "a wintry mix of hazards"

The National Weather Service said Tuesday that a winter storm is bringing "a wintry mix of hazards including freezing rain and moderate-to-heavy snows to Southern New England through tonight while bringing the possibility of severe thunderstorms to the Southeastern U.S."

Authorities across Massachusetts warned drivers to use "extreme caution" on the roads. "Multiple spin outs and accidents in the area," the Onset, Massachusetts, Fire Rescue posted on Facebook Tuesday. "Use EXTREME CAUTION if you need to be on the roads this morning!" 

Two teenage brothers driving to school on Tuesday morning in Bourne, Massachusetts, suffered life-threatening injuries after their car slid off an icy road and hit a tree, CBS Boston reports. Police had to use "mechanical means" to free the brothers, ages 14 and 17, from their pickup truck which was wrapped around the tree on the drivers side.

The brunt of the storm will have moved through the state by Wednesday, according to CBS Boston meteorologist Terry Eliasen.

"After we get through with Today's slop (and a few snow showers Tomorrow PM), the pattern will quiet down significantly for a while," Eliasen shared on Twitter. "Watching a storm in the SE US early next week, but otherwise an easy stretch ahead for travel." 

By Audrey McNamara

School children escape before tornado hits school

18 kids escape just before tornado destroys Louisiana school

In Alexandria, Louisiana, 18 children were moved out of a school and daycare center just 10 minutes before a tornado shredded the building, leaving piles of sheet metal and wood where it once stood, CBS News correspondent David Begnaud reports. Teachers led the students to a church next door after they received a tornado alert.

After receiving a tornado alert, teachers led students to a church next door, where they hid under pews for safety. When the tornado had safely moved on, fire crews rescued the children, wrapping them in towels and blankets and walking them away from the wreckage of their school.

That tornado continued along an estimated total 63-mile path across the state.

Meteorologist Donald Jones of the National Weather Service office in Lake Charles called the path "absolutely ridiculous," The Associated Press reports. "I don't know what our records for the longest total in this area is, but that's got to be pretty damn close to it."

By Audrey McNamara

Tornadoes tear through the South

The storm system moved South on Monday, creating a surge in tornado activity.

In Louisiana, one person was reported killed inside a home struck by a tornado in the residential area in Vernon Parish.

Two others, a husband and wife, were reported killed in a tornado in a community about 55 miles west of Huntsville in northern Alabama. At least four others were injured in the same twister, according to Town Creek Police Chief Jerry Garrett.

The injured included a 7-year-old who was taken to a hospital in Birmingham, authorities said, The Associated Press reports.

Skies are expected to clear-up in the region of Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas, according to a Tuesday weather report from CBS affiliate KSLA-TV in Shreveport, Louisiana. 

By Audrey McNamara

Deadly wintry weather

On Sunday alone, six people died from weather-related car accidents in Nebraska, and four others died due to severe weather in Missouri, according to the state's highway patrol. By Monday, another car crash fatality was reported in Kansas. A twelfth death was reported in Utah, where an avalanche killed a snowboarder.

Officials in Missouri, Nebraska and Kansas reported hundreds of calls for help and dozens of crashes Sunday, The Weather Channel reports.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol tweeted on Monday morning that it had responded to over 660 calls from stranded motorists and to 685 other traffic crashes.

By Audrey McNamara
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