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Winter storm threatens heavy snow in US Midwest, tornadoes in South

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A woman and the Chicago skyline are reflected in the snow covered, curved surface of the “Cloud Gate” sculpture in Chicago, Illinois, January 6, 2015. A REUTERS/Jim Young/File Photo

More than a foot of snow could fall on the U.S. Northern Plains and Upper Midwest over the next day, forecasters said on Tuesday, and the same storm threatened tornadoes and severe thunderstorms over parts of the South.

After dropping around a foot (30 cm) of snow on parts of Nebraska and South Dakota, a powerful winter storm was moving eastward and could leave parts of southern South Dakota and Minnesota with another 12-18 inches (30-45 cm), according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

The same system was causing heavy rain and a chance of tornadoes along the Central Gulf Coast. Northern Mississippi was under a tornado watch on Tuesday, and “pea-sized” hail was possible, NWS said.

“It’s all part of the same system. The heavy snowfall is occurring on the west to northern side of the storm…and then the rainfall and severe weather is across the south,” NWS meteorologist Allison Santorelli said.

Nearly 70 flights out of Minneapolis-St.Paul International Airport were cancelled on Tuesday morning, according to flight tracker FlightAware, with travel expected to be disrupted during the period of heaviest snowfall through Tuesday afternoon.

Meanwhile, in California, the northern coast was hit by heavy rain over the weekend and might see flooding when another heavy rain storm arrives on Wednesday and Thursday. Paired with high winds, residents should be prepared for downed trees and power outages, Santorelli said.

More than 21,000 homes and businesses had power knocked out by early on Tuesday, data from showed.

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