Storm ex­pected to soak South – but could do a lot worse

USA TODAY Weekend Extra - - FRONT PAGE - Jes­sica Guynn and Doyle Rice

SAN FRAN­CISCO – A strength­en­ing win­ter storm that dropped record­break­ing down­pours on Los An­ge­les is ex­pected to pack a pow­er­ful mix of snow, sleet and freez­ing rain – maybe even tor­na­does – that could cause flash floods and power out­ages, snarl air travel and down trees as it crawls across the south­ern United States.

Sig­nif­i­cant delays threat­ened at air­port hubs such as Dal­las, Hous­ton, New Or­leans and At­lanta through the week­end could make a mess for air trav­el­ers and rip­ple across the coun­try, fore­cast­ers warned.

So far most ma­jor hubs were ex­pected to see only rain with the ex­cep­tion of Char­lotte, North Carolina, a hub for Amer­i­can Air­lines, where icy weather and up to a half-foot of snow were pos­si­ble Sun­day. Air­lines are waiv­ing change fees across a num­ber of states.

More than a dozen states from Ne­vada to Vir­ginia are un­der snow, ice and flood alerts. The gover­nor of Ok­la­homa de­clared a state of emer­gency; the gover­nor of North Carolina was ex­pected to be­fore the storm ar­rived.

Heavy rain is ex­pected from east­ern Texas to Ge­or­gia. South­ern Texas, in­clud­ing Cor­pus Christi and Hous­ton, has the great­est risk of se­vere weather, in­clud­ing iso­lated tor­na­does.

“As se­vere weather ap­proaches, it is im­per­a­tive that Tex­ans heed all warn­ings from first re­spon­ders and lo­cal of­fi­cials,” Texas Gov. Greg Ab­bott said Fri­day. “I en­cour­age all Tex­ans to stay alert to po­ten­tially hazardous road con­di­tions and chang­ing weather pat­terns. Texas is pre­pared to re­spond and of­fer the nec­es­sary as­sis­tance to lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties as they deal with the im­pact of this storm.”

By Satur­day, the rain and flood threat will shift to the Deep South and South­east. Along the north­ern edge of the storm, from Mis­souri to the Caroli­nas, more freez­ing rain and ice is likely.

SHAWN THEW/EPA-EFE

Much of the re­port about Paul Manafort was kept un­der seal.

Traf­fic was at a stand­still Thurs­day on In­ter­state 5 near Gor­man, Calif., af­ter record-break­ing rain­fall.

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