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Storms endanger U.S. travelers

Jacob Longwell, left, of St. Louis and Josh Peterson of Fayetteville, Ark., try to dig a car out of a snow drift in Omaha, Neb., on Saturday. Treacherous weather that has plagued much of the country for days stranded road and air travelers Saturday trying to get home after Christmas.

Associated Press

Jacob Longwell, left, of St. Louis and Josh Peterson of Fayetteville, Ark., try to dig a car out of a snow drift in Omaha, Neb., on Saturday. Treacherous weather that has plagued much of the country for days stranded road and air travelers Saturday trying to get home after Christmas.

OMAHA, Neb. — Drifting snow and cold rain that have plagued much of the country for days stranded drivers and airline passengers Saturday trying to get home after Christmas.

Storms from Texas to the Upper Midwest that dumped 23.9 inches of snow in Grand Forks, N.D., and 18 inches near Norfolk, Neb., began subsiding, but blowing and drifting snow hampered visibility in many areas. Several motorists abandoned their vehicles on snow-covered roads in northeast Nebraska. Ten to 20 vehicles were stuck near Norfolk, but state troopers do not believe any motorists were stranded.

Warmer temperatures and rains in the East began melting and washing away last week's record-setting snowfalls, threatening the region with flooding.

A woman and her teenage daughter in Middletown, Pa., a suburb of Philadelphia, were rescued from a rain-swollen creek after their SUV went off the road Saturday. Rescue workers found the 14-year-old clinging to a log; her mother was trapped in the vehicle.

Authorities in southeast Missouri were searching for a woman who washed away in a ditch on Christmas Eve as heavy rains showered the region. Witnesses saw her in the water west of Powe, Mo., and tried to assist her, said Sgt. Jody Laramore of the state Highway Patrol.

In Chicago, one of the nation's busiest travel hubs, snow and ice along with rain on the East Coast canceled or delayed more than 300 flights.

Flights also were delayed at the three major airports in the New York area, which was getting rain and patchy fog. Most New York area delays were weather-related but some were worsened by stricter security precautions, said Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the area's airports.

Winter weather has been blamed for more than 20 deaths across the country the past week.

Storms endanger U.S. travelers 12/26/09 [Last modified: Saturday, December 26, 2009 10:18pm]

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