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Ice, snow blast West, the Plains

Storms closed schools and glazed roads with ice and snow Tuesday in the Rockies and on the Plains, part of a parade of wild weather that had closed a major highway in California and caused new flooding in Arizona.

Various levels of winter weather advisories and storm warnings were in effect from Tuesday into Wednesday morning from Arizona to Connecticut, the National Weather Service said.

The California Highway Patrol on Tuesday finally reopened a 40-mile stretch of Interstate 5 _ the state's main north-south route _ that had been shut down since early Monday.

The storms that started striking California just over a week ago have piled snow 9 feet deep at higher elevations in the Sierra Nevada, soaked Los Angeles with record rainfall, caused mudslides and knocked out power to thousands of customers.

Judge dismisses lawsuit against Kennedy Smith

CHICAGO _ A judge Tuesday threw out a lawsuit filed against William Kennedy Smith by a former personal assistant who alleged he sexually assaulted her.

Smith, the nephew of Sen. Edward Kennedy, has repeatedly denied he assaulted Audra Soulias.

Smith, who was cleared of separate rape charges in Florida in 1991, has said Soulias demanded a $3-million payoff in exchange for not going to court.

Soulias attorney Kevin E. O'Reilly said he would refile the lawsuit. He said Soulias was "hurt" the case was dismissed but "happy it all came out."

Also . . .

PROSECUTORS REVEAL GOVERNOR CORRUPTION CASE: Prosecutors unveiled their sweeping racketeering case against former Illinois Gov. George Ryan on Tuesday, saying he got free Caribbean vacations, cash for family members' businesses and a host of other perks through ties to corrupt state landlords and lobbyists. The trial is due to start March 14.

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