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Storm signals snow for southern Minnesota

ST. PAUL -- A winter weather warning edged north overnight, giving the Twin Cities area the opportunity to share a prediction of up to a foot of snow by Tuesday afternoon in parts of southern Minnesota and much of Wisconsin.

The National Weather Services expanded its winter storm warning for southern Minnesota that starts at 3 p.m. today, and ends at 6 p.m. Tuesday, so it extends south of line roughly from Redwood Falls to just north of the Twin Cities. Also in the warning are nearly all of Wisconsin and Iowa, along with a tail that stretches southwest through Oklahoma nearly to Texas.

The winter storm is the same one that resulted in numerous tornado fatalities from tornadoes and other severe weather in Texas during the Christmas weekend.

Rain from the storm system is predicted from Missouri to Indiana and south.

Warned areas in Minnesota and Wisconsin are to receive 6 to 12 inches of snow, with deepest snow in southern Minnesota, the weather service predicts. A winter weather advisory to the north of the warning area can expect 4 to 6 inches. The advisory is south of a line from Morris to St. Cloud to Mora.

Light snow is possible further north.

Heavy snow is expected this afternoon and night in the warning area, starting at mid-afternoon in southwestern Minnesota and quickly moving to the northeast. Lighter snow is predicted much of Tuesday in parts of the region.

Wind gusts up to 20 mph in many areas will reduce visibilities.

Forecasters say the snow should end at mid-day Tuesday in southern Minnesota, and late afternoon in central Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

Strong and gusty thunderstorms with tornadoes were threatening the U.S. Gulf Coast today, following tornadoes and floods over the Christmas holiday season that killed at least 43 people in the South and Midwest and snarled transportation during a busy travel time.

The strongest storms will be in Alabama, Mississippi and the Florida panhandle, said AccuWeather senior meteorologist Michael Leseney. Tornado warnings were already in effect in Texas and Alabama, meaning tornadoes had been sighted.

To the north, the Chicago area was being hit by sleet, which was expected to turn to rain, while snow was falling in Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, Michigan and parts of western Missouri, Leseney said.

The heaviest snow, over a foot, was expected in southwestern Wisconsin and southeastern Minnesota, Leseney said.

Winter storms that brought ice and high winds to Oklahoma over the weekend led to snapped power lines, with 54,000 customers without power on Monday morning in Oklahoma City and surrounding areas, Oklahoma Gas & Electric said. Local news reports said there were 100,000 without power across the state.

At least 17,000 customers were without power in Texas on Monday morning, according to major utility companies.

Reuters news service contributed to this story.

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