Heavy winds, snow disrupt Iowa, Nebraska travel

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Denver International Airport, security checkpoint, travelers

FILE – In this Nov. 21, 2018, file photo, travelers wait in long lines to pass through a security checkpoint at Denver International Airport in Denver. Thanksgiving travel is an ordeal under the best of circumstances, and a one-two punch of bad weather threatens to make it even more exhausting. There’s a forecast for heavy snow in Denver, and another storm will crash into the West Coast, possibly fouling flights and making driving treacherous. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — The Latest on the pre-Thanksgiving wintry storm (all times local):

9 a.m.

Strong winds are whipping up snow and hampering travelers in Nebraska and Iowa.

The storm system that wreaked havoc as it raced through Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska remains over much of Iowa. The National Weather Service says gusts could approach 60 mph (96.6 kph) as the storm heads northeast. A gust of 53 mph (85.3 kph) was reported Wednesday morning in Davenport.

The Iowa Transportation Department says several highways are packed with snow, but none are closed.

The National Weather Service says little new snowfall is expected over Iowa, where 8.3 inches (21.1 centimeters) was reported a mile west of Spirit Lake.

Far western Nebraska is shoveling out from higher amounts. Nearly a foot (30.5 centimeters) has been reported southeast of Lyman, with drifts up to 16 inches (40.6 centimeters) deep.

Several Nebraska highways and county roads are covered with snow as well, but no weather-related closures are reported.

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7:30 a.m.

Blowing snow is making travel difficult in southern South Dakota where about two dozen school districts have canceled classes.

A South Dakota Department of Transportation map shows many roads from as far north as Watertown, south to Sioux City, west to Winner and east to Worthington are snow- or ice-covered.

The National Weather Service says Dell Rapids received around 6 inches of snow while many areas around Sioux Falls had around 4 inches. Areas around Mitchell had 2 to 4 inches of snow.

A winter storm warning was set to expire Wednesday morning.

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7:05 a.m.

Numerous roads in northwest and north-central Kansas are partially or completely snow covered after a storm dumped more than 5 inches (12.7 centimeters) of snow across the region.

A stretch of Interstate 70 near the state’s western border with Colorado was open again Wednesday after temporarily closing Tuesday at the height of the storm. Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Tod Hileman urged drivers in a tweet to “Stay put,” adding that it “doesn’t look like fun!” Many travelers took the advice, filling hotels in the area.

The National Weather Service says some of the heaviest accumulations were in Goodland, where 7.5 inches (19.05 centimeters) fell, and north of the small village of McDonald, where 9.5 inches (24.13 centimeters) was on the ground.

The storm also wreaked havoc in other states, including Wyoming and Nebraska.

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6:55 a.m.

Numerous schools canceled classes in northern and western Wisconsin as heavy snow and high wind caused deteriorating travel conditions.

The National Weather Service posted a winter storm warning from just north of La Crosse to northeast Wisconsin. In far northern areas of the state, including Bayfield, Ashland and Iron counties, snowfall totals could reach as high as 20 inches (508 millimeters). Elsewhere, 6 inches (152 millimeters) to 10 inches (254 millimeters) of snow was expected in northwestern Wisconsin.

A Wisconsin Department of Transportation map shows roads and highways snow covered and slippery throughout the northern half of the state.

School districts from Mosinee to Viroqua were among those taking the day off Wednesday.

The storm brought rain and thunder to southern Wisconsin where the temperature was 50 degrees in Milwaukee Wednesday morning.

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6:05 a.m.

Blinding snow is falling fast in southern Minnesota, where 12 inches (304 millimeters) or more is expected to accumulate during a busy holiday travel period.

Officials warned residents to stay off the roads until the accompanying high winds die down. By early Wednesday, 8.7 inches (221 millimeters) of snow was already on the ground in Prior Lake, 7.8 inches (198 millimeters) at St. Paul and 7.5 inches (190.5 millimeters) in Eagan.

At Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, crews worked overnight to clear runways ahead of the busiest travel day before Thanksgiving. About 20 flights were delayed or canceled Wednesday morning.

Many school districts and universities, including St. Paul Public Schools, the University of Minnesota and University of St. Thomas canceled Wednesday classes as travel conditions deteriorated.

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11:35 p.m.

A storm packing heavy snow and high winds that wreaked havoc as it whipped through Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska is marching into the upper Midwest as anxious Thanksgiving travelers brace for a busy, if not perilous, holiday week.

The wintry storm that left at least one person dead was expected to push eastward into South Dakota, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin on Wednesday, while a “bomb cyclone” weather phenomenon was expected to simultaneously topple trees, knock out power and dump snow as it rolled into California and Oregon.

The one-two punch made for a double whammy of early wintry weather that threatened to scramble plans for millions of people nationwide during one of the busiest travel weeks of the year.

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