Published On: Mon, Apr 16th, 2018

Slow-moving storms head east after blanketing U.S. Midwest

ATLANTA (Reuters) – Deadly slow-moving storms generating record snowfall and low temperatures in the U.S. Midwest moved eastward on Sunday, leaving stranded airline travelers and thousands without power.

In Michigan, where snowfall was expected to reach 18 inches (46 cm) in some areas, about 325,000 homes and businesses were without power, most of them in the southeast of the state.

In the Detroit metro area, more than 310,000 customers of DTE Energy (DTE.N) lost power on Sunday because of ice storms, DTE spokeswoman Je’well Pearson said.

Icy roads were also posing a challenge for utility trucks, which could prolong some of the outages, she said.

Tornado watches were in effect over the Carolinas, but no tornadoes had been reported by early Sunday afternoon, said National Weather Service meteorologist Brian Hurley.

The storms stretched from the Gulf Coast to the Midwest and were moving into the Northeast and New England.

The heaviest snows of 12 inches to 18 inches (30-46 cm) hit upper Michigan and Wisconsin, while the southern portions of those two states were experiencing ice storms, Hurley said.

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Record low temperatures for the date were expected in Oklahoma City on Monday at 30 degrees F (-1 C), and in Kansas City, Missouri, at 25 F (-4 C), Hurley said.

For the twin cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, the April monthly record for snowfall of 21.8 inches (55 cm) was surpassed on Saturday, the National Weather Service said.

On Friday, the weather system produced 17 reports of tornadoes in Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri and Texas, the weather service said. Four people were injured and 160 buildings damaged in a possible tornado in northwest Arkansas, local media reported.

The weather was blamed for two traffic deaths in western Nebraska and Wisconsin, according to National Public Radio.

The storms also killed a 1-year-old girl when a tree fell on a recreational vehicle where she was sleeping, the sheriff’s office in Bossier Parish, Louisiana, said.

By Sunday afternoon, 879 flights had been canceled into or out of U.S. airports, the website flightaware.com reported, including 115 flights in or out of the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport. On Saturday, 240 flights were canceled to or from Minneapolis-St. Paul, the website said.

A total of more than 150 flights had also been canceled on Sunday at Chicago’s O’Hare International, Boston’s Logan International, Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International and Newark Liberty International airport in New Jersey, flightaware said.

Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; Additional reporting by Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Editing by Adrian Croft and Peter Cooney

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