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Blizzard Warnings In Upper Midwest; Possible Tornado In Alabama

A winter storm that has brought blizzard conditions to parts of the Upper Midwest from Iowa into Minnesota and Wisconsin has authorities urging folks to stay off the roads and airlines warning of flight delays at Chicago's O'Hare and other airports in the region.

The Weather Channel, which has named the storm Draco, says heavy snow and strong winds will continue in the area through Thursday night. And after it finishes with the Upper Midwest, "Draco will sweep through the East Coast with rain and wind while turning on the lake-effect snow machine in the Great Lakes," the channel says.

The Des Moines Register reports today that crews are working to clear roads in the city, "but driving conditions remain difficult, officials said. Various measurements around the Des Moines area show between nine and 13 inches of snow accumulation and high winds are making it difficult to clear, officials said."

Wisconsin Public Radio says "heavy snowfall is expected in much of the state" and that Gov. Scott Walker (R) has declared a state of emergency. It adds that "Todd Pritchard, a spokesman with Wisconsin Emergency Management, says the storm may make travel virtually impossible in much of southern Wisconsin."

As Korva wrote Wednesday, this is the first major winter storm of the season for much of the nation.

Far to the south, around Mobile, Ala., a "line of severe storms has moved through the region, bringing high winds, rain, tornado watches and warnings," AL.com reports.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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