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Powerful storm expands northeastward into Iowa

AMARILLO, Texas, Feb. 26 (UPI) — A complex but powerful winter storm, after pounding the High Plains, expanded northeastward from Missouri to Iowa and Illinois.

Hundreds of flights were canceled due to the storm and major highways were clogged.

Conditions were expected to worsen in Chicago after snow began falling shortly before noon, AccuWeather.com reported. Detroit also was expected to be hit by snow.

Earlier, at the height of the storm, the National Weather Service said blizzard conditions were punishing the Central and Southern Plains. Blizzard warnings were in effect from northern Texas through portions of western and central Oklahoma into southern Kansas.

The forecasters said the storm next will pivot toward the Northeast.

Though the storm is expected to deliver only rain to the coast, it is expected to cause an array of bad weather, from heavy snow to a wintry mix and rain inland and farther north, AccuWeather.com reported. Locally, the nature of the precipitation could change several times from rain to snow and back.

The worst of the storm was expected in southern New England, where a combination of melting snow and rain could lead to flooding.

Rain was forecast from Washington to Philadelphia to New York City, AccuWeather said, setting up the potential for travel delays into the night along the Interstate-95 corridor.

The report said much of the New York Thruway and Southern Tier Expressway in New York, as well as part of I-80 in Pennsylvania also could be affected by rain. On northern portions of I-95, much of I-92 and northern I-87 and I-91, a wintry mix could cause problems.

In the Chicago area a winter advisory was in effect.

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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