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The Latest: Minneapolis airport reopens after blizzard

By The Associated Press
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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Latest on spring storms in the Midwest (all times local):

11:15 p.m.

Officials say one runway has reopened at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport hours after all flights were grounded during a spring blizzard.

The airport halted all incoming and outgoing flights Saturday afternoon because of heavy snowfall and low visibility. Airport officials say the snow was coming down too fast for plows to keep the runways clear or for crews to keep the planes deiced.

Airport spokesman Patrick Hogan tells The Associated Press that 469 flights were canceled before one runway reopened shortly after 10 p.m. He says crews will work overnight to get other runways open.

The snowfall is part of a storm system stretching from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes. The system moved into the region Friday, bringing with it snow, tornadoes, rain and hail. At least three deaths have been attributed to the weather in Wisconsin, Nebraska and Louisiana.

___

10:10 p.m.

Flights are grounded in Minneapolis and South Dakota, and hundreds of vehicle crashes have been reported across the Midwest as a deadly storm system sweeps across the central United States.

The National Weather Service says more than 13 inches (33 centimeters) of snow had buried the Minneapolis area as of Saturday night, at times falling at a rate of 1 or 2 inches an hour.

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport has been closed to incoming and outgoing flights since Saturday afternoon. Airport officials hope to open at least one runway soon, weather permitting.

Blizzard conditions have closed the airport for two days in Sioux Falls, South Dakota's biggest city.

The storm system moved in Friday, stretching from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes, bringing with it snow, tornadoes, rain and hail. At least three deaths have been attributed to the weather.

___

6:20 p.m.

The last three games of the series between the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins have been called off because of a spring snowstorm.

Several hours after Saturday's game at Target Field was postponed, the Twins said Sunday's game was off, too.

The National Weather Service has predicted snow throughout the weekend, with temperatures in the 20s.

No makeup dates have been announced.

The Twins beat Chicago 4-0 on Thursday. Friday night's game was postponed because of rain, with snow in the forecast.

Last Sunday, the Twins' home game against Seattle was postponed because of wintry weather.

___

5:30 p.m.

Officials have closed Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to arriving and departing flights as a powerful storm system sweeps through the central U.S.

Airport officials cite the combination of heavy snow and low visibility Saturday. They say the snow is coming down too fast for plows to keep the runways clear or for crews to keep the planes deiced.

The airport shut down flight operations Saturday afternoon. Airport spokesman Pat Hogan tells WCCO Radio that officials hope to reopen at least one runway sometime Saturday night, weather permitting.

Around 7 inches of snow had fallen at the airport by mid-afternoon.

A storm system stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes has dumped more than a foot of snow on parts of the Upper Midwest. At least three deaths have been attributed to the storms.

___

2:45 p.m.

Authorities say a Wisconsin woman was killed when her minivan lost control and struck an oncoming SUV, bringing the death toll from the storm system sweeping through the central U.S. to three.

The Columbia County Sheriff's Office says the accident happened shortly before 6 a.m. Saturday when a minivan began to spin on slush-covered Highway 16 near Lewiston and crossed the centerline, where it was struck the oncoming SUV.

The minivan driver, a 30-year-old woman from Poynette, died. Three minivan passengers and the SUV's driver were hospitalized with injuries.

The sheriff's office says a light freezing rain was falling at the time of the crash.

The storm system has dumped heavy snow on parts of the Upper Midwest and is also being blamed for the death of a 2-year-old girl in Louisiana and an Idaho truck driver who was involved in a crash in Nebraska.

___

2 p.m.

A powerful storm system sweeping through the central U.S. brought hail and high winds to parts of Texas, toppling trees and power lines but causing no major injuries.

National Weather Service meteorologist Patricia Sanchez said some areas south of Dallas-Fort Worth got egg-sized hail as the storms swept through. She says other areas got pea to quarter-sized hail.

In Austin, fire officials said tree limbs were reported down all across the city with several on houses and lightning struck a couple houses. No major injuries were reported by but fire officials said a woman was taken to the hospital after a tree branch fell on her. Austin-Travis County EMS said her injuries were not life threatening.

Fire officials in Austin say two homes caught on fire after being hit by lightning, and gusty winds helped spread the flames. One home had heavy damage to its attic while the other home was mostly destroyed, as were two side buildings.

Downed trees and power lines were also reported in parts of East Texas.

___

12:15 p.m.

A powerful storm system sweeping through the central U.S. has knocked down trees in many places and caused power outages, including thousands in Michigan.

The system stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes has dumped a foot of snow on parts of the Upper Midwest and is being blamed for at least two deaths, one each in Nebraska and Louisiana.

The National Weather Service reports that wind gusts of about 50 mph were recorded Saturday in western Michigan and the state's Upper Peninsula. The state is expected to get more snow and ice as the system moves eastward throughout the weekend.

Michigan's largest electric utility Consumers Energy says it had about 23,000 homes and businesses without power as of midday Saturday. The largest outage concentrations were in the Grand Rapids area, in western Michigan.

___

12 p.m.

A storm system stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes has dumped a foot of snow on parts of the Upper Midwest and is being blamed for at least two deaths, including an Idaho truck driver who was killed on a Nebraska highway a 2-year-old Louisiana girl whose family's mobile home was struck by a downed tree.

Authorities say the girl was asleep at around 12:30 a.m. Saturday when a storm toppled the tree that struck her family's recreational vehicle in Haughton, which is in northwestern Louisiana near Shreveport.

Lt. Bill Davis of the Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office says four adults and a 15-month-old child who were also in the RV were not hurt.

The Nebraska State Patrol says 61-year-old Rollo Ward, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, was killed when his semitrailer lost control on snow-covered Interstate 80 near Chappell in western Nebraska and struck a semi that was stranded in the blizzard. He died at the scene.

The storm system has also dumped heavy snow in South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin. A tornado ripped through the tiny Ozark Mountain town of Mountainburg, Arkansas, injuring at least four people Friday.

It is expected to move eastward throughout the weekend.

___

11:30 a.m.

The Nebraska State Patrol says at least one person was killed and scores of stranded drivers were rescued in western Nebraska as a late-season blizzard crippled travel in western Nebraska.

The patrol says 61-year-old Rollo Ward, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, died at the scene of the crash Friday when the semitrailer he was driving on Interstate 80 went out of control on the snow-covered roadway and hit another semi previously stranded in the blizzard. The crash happened near Chappell in western Nebraska.

The patrol says blizzard also left more than 100 drivers stranded on I-80 and other highways Friday.

The blizzard was part of a potent spring storm system that's expected to persist through the weekend in the central U.S. It has also dumped heavy snow in South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin. A tornado ripped through the tiny Ozark Mountain town of Mountainburg, Arkansas, injuring at least four people Friday.

___

11:15 a.m.

A band of 6 to 18 inches fell overnight across central and northeastern Wisconsin, with another round on the way as a major spring storm system helps winter keep its grip on the Midwest.

A blizzard warning is out for the northern half of Wisconsin, where 14 additional inches are expected by Sunday evening. Winds as high as 55 mph are causing blowing and drifting snow, along with ice shoves in Green Bay. The National Weather Service says coastal flooding is possible along Lake Michigan.

The storm has brought ice to southern Wisconsin. Some areas, including Fond du Lac and Sheboygan, are expected to get a quarter-inch of ice accumulation by Sunday morning.

Wisconsin Public Service reported around 90 power outages affecting over 3,400 customers in northeastern Wisconsin.

The blizzard is part of a potent spring storm system that's expected to persist through the weekend up the nation's midsection. It has also dumped heavy snow in South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin. A tornado ripped through the tiny Ozark Mountain town of Mountainburg, Arkansas, injuring at least four people Friday.

___

10:30 a.m.

A spring blizzard is making travel difficult to impossible in much of South Dakota for a second day.

While the blizzard warning has been lifted in the western part of the state, it remains in effect for much of southern and eastern South Dakota.

No travel is advised in Sioux Falls, where police say the blowing snow has made it hard to see anything. Interstate 29 remains closed from Sioux Falls to Summit. I-90 remains closed across most of South Dakota from Wall to Sioux Falls.

Huron has received 18 inches of snow. Rapid City got 9 inches.

The southeastern corner of the state is expected to get 8 to 12 inches of snow by Sunday morning. Winds remain strong, with gusts of 40 to 50 mph, and the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls says the winds will only slowly subside.

___

10 a.m.

Authorities advise no travel in much of southwestern Minnesota, where a blizzard warning remains in effect as a major storm system blankets the Midwest.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation has closed several highways in the southwest due to the storm, which is expected to persist into Sunday. Driving conditions are difficult across the southern half of Minnesota.

The National Weather Service predicts 9 to 15 inches of snow across a large swath of southern Minnesota including the Twin Cities before it's all over. More than 2 inches of snow had fallen at the weather service office in Chanhassen by 7 a.m., with over 1 inch at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Saturday's Minnesota Twins game against the Chicago White Sox has been snowed out for the second day in a row.

___

5:10 a.m.

A potent spring storm system that's expected to persist through the weekend has raked across the Midwest and spawning at least one tornado in Arkansas as blizzard conditions blanket much of the Northern Plains.

A tornado ripped through the tiny Ozark Mountain town of Mountainburg, Arkansas, injuring at least four people and causing widespread damage Friday afternoon.

Crawford County Emergency Management Director Brad Thomas said there were at least three entrapments following the twister. He said he did not know the condition of the four people hospitalized.

Meanwhile, blizzard warnings stretched from northern Kansas across most of Nebraska and South Dakota into southwestern Minnesota and northeastern Iowa, with winter storm warnings and watches covering most of the rest of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. Heavy snow already blanketed parts of western Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota.

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