Snow, rain soak eastern United States in post-Christmas storms

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., Dec 26 (Reuters) - The severe winter

weather that hit parts of the central and southern United States

on Christmas Day moved eastward on Wednesday, with forecasters

predicting heavy snow in the Ohio Valley and possible tornadoes

in the coastal Carolinas.

The National Weather Service issued blizzard and winter

storm warnings in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, as well as much of

the Northeast, and warned motorists of "treacherous" driving

conditions in those areas.

At airports across the Northeast, holiday travelers braced

for flight delays. Some flights headed for Newark Liberty

International Airport in New Jersey were experiencing delays of

more than an hour on Wednesday because of the inclement weather.

The NWS said more than six inches of snow might fall in

those regions, while the area from western New York up into

central Maine could get from 12 to 18 inches.

As of Wednesday morning, Bloomington, Indiana, already had

nearly a foot of snow and Indianapolis had about seven inches,

according to AccuWeather.com.

Severe thunderstorms and widespread rain were expected from

southeast Virginia to Florida, with the eastern counties in

North Carolina and South Carolina under a tornado watch, the NWS

said.

The wet and snowy conditions follow a major winter storm

system that swept through the southern United States on Tuesday,

spawning tornadoes in several states and causing the death of

two people in weather-related road accidents.

Twisters struck in Alabama, Mississippi, Texas and

Louisiana, flattening houses and causing injuries, according to

the weather service.

Declaring a state of emergency, Mississippi Governor Phil

Bryant deployed resources to the multiple counties in that state

that reported damaged homes and businesses, power outages and

flooding.

Tuesday's storms also contributed to a 21-vehicle pile-up

that shut Interstate 40 in downtown Oklahoma City and caused

power outages for tens of thousands of residents.

A Texas man died after an accident involving a toppled tree

in the road, and there was another weather-related fatality on

I-44 in Oklahoma, according to local authorities.

(Reporting by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Paul Thomasch and

Gunna Dickson)

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