World

Bodies of children found as deadly winter weather hits the US

PHOENIX, ARIZONA: Wintry weather bedevilled Thanksgiving weekend travellers across the US on Saturday as a powerful and dangerous storm moved eastward, dumping heavy snow from parts of California to the northern Midwest and inundating other areas with rain.

The authorities found the bodies of two young children, including a five-year-old boy, and a third child was missing in central Arizona after a vehicle was swept away while attempting to cross a runoff-swollen creek. A storm-related death was also reported in South Dakota.

Also in South Dakota, a small-engine plane carrying 12 people crashed, killing nine aboard and leaving three others injured.

Mr Peter Knudson of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said the Pilatus PC-12 crashed on Saturday.

He said weather would be among several factors reviewed by NTSB investigators, and inclement weather was making travel to the crash site difficult.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service said the storm was expected to drop 15cm to 30cm of snow into Minnesota, Wisconsin and Upper Michigan.

Blizzard conditions on early Saturday were already buffeting the High Plains.

The city of Duluth, Minnesota, issued a "no travel advisory" beginning at noon Saturday because of a major snow storm it termed "historic".

Duluth officials asked the public to be patient as ploughs clear roadways and recommended that drivers stay off the roads to prevent accidents and let officers respond more quickly to emergencies.

Farther south, rain and thunderstorms were forecast along and ahead of the cold front, with heavy rainfall possible on Saturday in parts of the Tennessee and Ohio Valleys.

Forecasters said a new storm is expected to bring California several metres of mountain snow, rain and gusty winds through the weekend.

Airlines at O'Hare International and Midway International in Chicago reported average delays of 15 minutes as a winter storm headed toward the Midwest with heavy snow and ice and gusty winds.

The companies said they had cancelled 27 flights at O'Hare and two at Midway as people scramble to get home on the year's busiest travel weekend.

At Denver International Airport, there were 100 flights cancelled on Saturday because of high winds.

The authorities in the western states were on Saturday still grappling with the aftermath of heavy rains and snow over the busiest travel weekend of the year.

SWEPT AWAY

In Arizona on Saturday, two children and two adults who were in a vehicle that had been swept away on Friday were rescued from a small island and the bank of the creek in Tonto National Forest north-east of Phoenix. Three children were swept away.

In Arizona, officials found the body of the five-year-old about 4.8km downstream from where the vehicle was.

The body of the second child turned up later on Saturday. A third child is still missing. - AP

WORLD