Snow in Arkansas, storms head east

March 4, 2008 5:48:23 PM PST
Deep snow, heavy rain and sleet from the Mississippi Valley to the East Coast snarled travel, caused scattered flooding and complicated primary-day voting Tuesday. Two people were killed in Illinois when their car slid on a sleet-covered road into the path of a truck.

As much as 13 inches of snow fell at Russellville in west-central Arkansas, with up to 8 inches in Missouri and 9 around Alton, Ill., the National Weather Service said.

Some 18-wheelers had trouble negotiating some Arkansas roads, and authorities urged motorists to stay home.

Marco's Pan Bakery in Russellville did not open Tuesday, said worker Jamie Funes.

"No one is going to get from their house today," Funes said.

A band of snow and rain stretched from the southern Plains to northern New England during the morning, and the Weather Service posted winter storm warnings across sections of Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri and Illinois, with winter weather advisories along the Great Lakes. Thunderstorms swept through the Southeast.

Voting sites in Ohio were busy for Tuesday's presidential primaries despite heavy rain. Parts of southern Ohio had received 2 inches of rain in just four hours and flood warnings were posted throughout the state.

Several Ohio voting precincts requested permission to move polling stations because of the weather, and power failures forced a few to run on generators.

Four inches of rain fell in southwestern Kentucky, and several low-lying roads around the state were blocked by water. Up to 5 inches of rain fell in southwest North Carolina, where the French Broad River was expected to reach 9 feet - up from a normal 2 feet - and flood low-lying areas.

Flash flooding forced some people to briefly evacuate rural homes around the Alabama community of Collirene, said Lowndes County Sheriff Chip Williams.

Alabama also had two small tornadoes that destroyed at least two homes and damaged others, the Weather Service said.

The snow in Missouri snarled morning commutes in Springfield and St. Louis and closed schools in much of Missouri. Lambert Airport in St. Louis reported nearly 80 flights canceled by early afternoon.

In Illinois, a planned observance of a Belleville-born beagle that took top honors at last month's Westminster Kennel Club was put on hold. Uno the Beagle Day in Illinois got was scratched when the storm nixed the dog's flight to Chicago.

Tuesday's snowfall in Missouri followed two severe storms in February and lesser storms in December and but if we get a couple more surprise storms here in March we could be hurting."

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Associated Press Writers Jim Salter in St. Louis and Marcus Kabel in Springfield, Mo., contributed to this report.


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