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Snow and ice hit Midwest states

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Associated Press
December 1, 2007
— Snow and ice plastered a wide area of the Midwest on Saturday, disrupting campaigning by presidential hopefuls, making highways hazardous and closing Des Moines' airport.

The National Weather Service posted winter storm and ice warnings across parts of Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, the eastern Dakotas and northern Michigan, although some warnings were lifted by midday. Six to 16 inches of snow was forecast in parts of Minnesota.


Much of Iowa was hit with snow, sleet and freezing rain.


Officials decided to close Des Moines International Airport after a United Airlines plane slid off a taxiway as it was heading to a runway to take off on a flight to Chicago's O'Hare, said airport spokesman Roy Criss.


Criss said the 44 passengers on board were taken back to the terminal by bus. No one was injured.


As of late morning, 28 flights were canceled, but airport officials hoped to reopen by mid-afternoon.


"That's going to be a moving target," Criss said.


Jeff Kovick, a United spokesman, said the company is investigating the runway accident.


"We're focusing on trying to get our customers to their destinations as safely and as quickly as possible," Kovick said.


The storm also complicated plans for some presidential hopefuls drumming up support for the Jan. 3 caucuses that kick off the nomination process.


Republican Mitt Romney canceled three campaign stops planned Saturday in southern Iowa, and former President Clinton canceled a rally for his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, scheduled Saturday afternoon outside Des Moines.


Heavy accumulations of ice coated power lines and blacked out more than 2,000 customers scattered around Iowa, said representatives of for Alliant Energy and MidAmerican Energy.


The Iowa Department of Transportation advised people not to travel on highways in central and south-central parts of the state.


Numerous accidents were reported, said Transportation Department spokeswoman Dena Gray-Fisher.


Many parts of Minnesota reported difficult driving conditions by early afternoon, the state Department of Transportation reported. Snow mixed with sleet along the Interstate 90 corridor across the southern edge of the state and visibility was down a quarter-mile in places.


Snow and blowing snow with wind of 20 to 25 mph reduced visibility in southeastern South Dakota and brought cancellations of regular weekend activities such as YMCA basketball, church practices, high school athletics and community events. One Sioux Falls television station had posted 43 event cancellations and postponements on its Web site by noon.


2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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