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Spring storm hits the Southeast

Some central states get another dose of winter with heavy snowfall.

March 29, 2009|Staff And Wire Reports

A spring storm dumped heavy rain and baseball-sized hail and whipped up winds across the Southeast on Saturday, flooding homes and cars in parts of Mississippi and Alabama.

The central part of the country, meanwhile, got hit with snow.

The storm was blamed for two traffic deaths in Oklahoma, where some areas got a foot of snow.

Blizzard warnings were issued in Kansas.

In Chicago snow and sleet began falling late Saturday afternoon, prompting authorities to warn of hazardous road conditions overnight. The snow was expected to continue today.

About 100 roads in southern Mississippi were flooded and impassable at the height of the bad weather, including the main route into Biloxi, said Harrison County's emergency management director, Rupert Lacy. Some residents had to be rescued from their stalled and stranded cars, and others were helped from flooded homes, Lacy said.

More than 200 homes in the Biloxi area were damaged by flooding and two roads had areas of major pavement washout, Lacy said.

Tornado watches and warnings were issued across the region, which was still reeling from twisters over the last two days.

As much as 17 inches of rain had fallen over three days in some areas of Alabama and Mississippi, National Weather Service meteorologist Kirk Caceras said.

"We have springtime storms," Lacy said. "But this is a very unusual springtime storm."

To the west, blizzard warnings were in effect until Saturday afternoon for parts of the Texas Panhandle as snow kept people indoors and left highways closed.

The National Weather Service said parts of southwest Kansas got heavy snowfall, with the Pratt area seeing 28 inches.

In Missouri, freezing rain and snow closed Kansas City International Airport for more than two hours.

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