Winter Storms May Stick Around Through Thanksgiving

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Parts of the nation have taken a hit by winter weather over the weekend. Now forecasters are looking ahead and predicting the winter elements will likely cause problems for Thanksgiving travelers - especially those trying to get on the roads early this week.

A large storm is already blamed for at least eight deaths in the West. A wintery mix of snow, sleet and rain moved slowly through Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and other parts of the southwest on Sunday.

It is expected to target the South and eastern half of the country in the coming days, boosting the likelihood of snarled roads and airports as travelers head out for Thanksgiving travels.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for chunks of North Texas from noon Sunday until midday Monday.

Parts of Oklahoma are also under a winter storm warning, while an advisory has been issued for other parts of the state.

Large portions of New Mexico - especially in some of the higher elevations - have a few inches of snow, and near white out conditions were reported along stretches of Interstate 40 west of Albuquerque.
Then along the New Mexico-Texas, into the El Paso area, a mix of snow, sleet and ice forced some road closures and created messy driving conditions.

By early Sunday, the weather was to blame for at least eight deaths in several fatal traffic accidents.

Much of North Texas and parts of Oklahoma are under a winter storm warning through at least midday Monday. A winter weather advisory was issued for the rest of Oklahoma.

Dallas prepared for the ice by declaring "Ice Force Level 1," code for sending 30 sanding trucks to trouble shoot hazardous road conditions. And officials at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport held a flurry of conference calls and meetings to prepare for the first wintry blast. Already, more than 300 flights have been cancelled at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. That represents about one-third of the scheduled departures according to one spokeswoman.

Meteorologists say a low pressure system out of Alaska is to blame. They say it blew down with cold air and temperatures. It started creating problems Friday and Saturday.

Three of the eight deaths were in California where powerful winds created a deadly storm.

In northern Utah, state transportation authorities were cautioning truck drivers about winds so strong they could potentially topple their rigs. 

Meanwhile, snow blanketed parts of New Mexico and Arizona causing delays with schools.  

That snow was followed by a flood watch Saturday in the Phoenix area. Flood waters actually shut down part of Loop 303 freeway there.

In Tucson, firefighters found the body of a man who was swept away by the flood waters in the Santa Cruz River.

Nevada has been getting a soaking too, with hundreds of traffic accidents reported. 

National Weather Service meteorologist Tom Bradshaw says he expects the area to receive the worst weather overnight Sunday and early Monday. Then the system should reach the East Coast by the middle of next week right before Thanksgiving.

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