Heavy Snowfall and Tornadoes Wreak Havoc on Midwest and South

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The Weather Service in Birmingham, Ala., identified five areas in the state of likely tornado damage. It said it would not be able to carry out damage assessments until Wednesday because of ongoing threats, including a tornado warning that was in place on Tuesday afternoon in eastern Alabama, near Roanoke.

On Tuesday evening, a tornado hit near Decatur, Ill., east of Springfield, according to the Weather Service, which warned of flying debris, destruction of mobile homes and damage to roofs, windows, vehicles and trees.

On Monday, a tornado touched down shortly after 2 p.m. in Jessieville, Ark., near a high school, according to the Weather Service in Little Rock, which said the tornado damaged homes, multiple school buildings and light poles on the football field.

Melissa Speers, superintendent of the Jessieville School District, told The Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette that there had been few signs of the tornado’s sudden approach.

“Just out of the blue — high winds, awnings began to blow away, the flagpole blows over, and students and staff began moving to the safe room,” she told The Democrat Gazette.

In Montrose, Ark., near the Mississippi border, a jumble of downed power lines and trees was consistent with damage from a possible tornado, Lance Perrilloux, a Weather Service meteorologist, said, though he added that a tornado had not yet been confirmed.

At least five major airlines, including American Airlines, JetBlue and Delta Air Lines, have announced travel waivers for people who were planning to fly through Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport or the upper Midwest through midweek. Some airlines offered to waive change or cancellation fees.

The potential flight disruptions came after a wave of flight cancellations and delays last week because of winter weather, staff shortages and, in the case of Southwest Airlines, an unusual operations system and technology problems.

Christine Chung contributed reporting.

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