Storms Converge to Pack Powerful Punch

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A powerful weather system raced across the nation Tuesday. It offered residents everything weather-related, including heavy snow, numbing cold temps, thunderstorms as well as possible tornadoes. 

Click on the video player to see how traffic handled the snow through Washington State's Snoqualmie Pass.

Authorities blamed two deaths on the storm's high winds. Forecasters warned more bad weather could follow right behind it.

One Snowmobiler Still Missing in CO

Two of three snowmobilers lost in the mountains west of Denver were found late Tuesday. They were hospitalized in Glenwood Springs according to the county sheriff. The third man was still missing, after he had failed to return Sunday from a planned one-day trip.

Search efforts were delayed by bad weather and avalanche danger, the sheriff said.

About three-feet of snow has fallen in the area since Sunday morning, said Kyle Fredin of the National Weather Service. Snow began to taper off Tuesday, but up to a foot more was expected before the weekend, Fredin said.

Bitter Cold Air Strikes North Dakota

The system also blew bitterly cold air across the northern Plains, with the Weather Service reporting a midday temperature of minus 24 at Glasgow, Mont.

North Dakota registered wind chill factors of -54 at Garrison, with an actual low of -24 at Williston.

"Now's when you need to have your winter survival kit," North Dakota Highway Patrol Sgt. Aaron Hummel said.

Two Storms Converge Into One Large System

Heavy snow Monday fell in the mountain areas from Washington state to northern Arizona as two storms merged. One was from hard-hit California and another from the Gulf of Alaska, meteorologists explained.

"It's very unusual," said Doug Abromeit, director of the U.S. Forest Service's National Avalanche Center in Ketchum, Idaho. "Typically the storm is not this widespread."

Those storms were followed Tuesday by a third that threatened up to 20 inches of snow in Idaho's mountains into Wednesday, said Jay Breidenbach of the Weather Service office in Boise.

A fourth storm was on the way. "By Thursday, the next storm will be right on our doorstep. This is quite a storm system," Breidenbach said.

Washington's main east-west artery, Interstate 90, was closed at Snoqualmie Pass on Tuesday due to avalanche danger. Snow also closed highways in Minnesota, Colorado, and Wyoming.

Storm Blamed on Two Deaths, Flights and Schools Cancelled 

As the cold air with wind gusts as high as 70 mph headed into the Midwest, thick fog was created causing problems for air travelers Tuesday in Chicago. About 200 flights were canceled by Tuesday afternoon at O'Hare International Airport, said Chicago Department of Aviation spokesman Karen Pride.

Since temperatures were expected to drop Wednesday, in preparation, some central Illinois schools canceled classes.

Firefighters recovered two bodies from a mobile home near Evansville, Indiana that had been blown on its side by high winds from a thunderstorm, WEHT-TV reported.

Residents near Danville, west of Indianapolis, had reported funnel clouds. Damage was reported to a home and the Morgan County Courthouse in Martinsville.

The National Weather Service reported an unconfirmed tornado touchdown near Okawville, Ill. School officials also reported that a corner of the roof was peeled off at Nashville Community High School, also in Illinois.

In Cape Girardeau County, Mo., winds as high as 70 mph and dime-size hail were reported Tuesday. Two unconfirmed funnel clouds were reported, said Dick Knaup, the county's emergency management director.

Source: Associated Press

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