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Dangerous snow, cold temperatures trail twisters and floods in central US

At least 43 people have been killed in five days. And the dangerous weather is not over yet.
A sign sits underwater located in the downtown area of Elba, Ala., Dec. 26, 2015. (Photo by Marvin Gentry/Reuters)
A sign sits underwater located in the downtown area of Elba, Ala., Dec. 26, 2015. 

Tornadoes, blizzards and heavy rain have assaulted much of the country's middle section in recent days, killing dozens of people.

At least 19 people were killed from Wednesday to Saturday in Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee and Alabama in wicked weather that made the Christmas holiday hellish for many, according to The Associated Press.

Over the weekend, tornadoes in Texas claimed 11 more lives, and floods that washed over roadways and into homes led to 15 deaths in Missouri and Illinois.

At least 43 people have been killed in five days. And the dangerous weather is not over yet.

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The National Weather Service said the Midwest and the Plains should expect "a plethora of weather impacts," which are expected to linger into midweek.

Nearly 2,050 arrivals and departures had been canceled across the country and more than 3,500 others were delayed by 4:30 p.m. ET Monday. More than 60 percent of them — 1,242 — were to have flown into or out of the two main airports in Chicago, where freezing rain was being whipped by heavy winds.

In Oklahoma, 56 people have suffered storm-related injuries, including falls and traffic accidents, according to the state Health Department.

The state was still bracing for as much as a foot of snow in the western part of the state Monday, 2 to 4 inches of sleet in the middle and as much as 10 inches of rain in the east, where state emergency officials said they were anticipating the possibility of "major" flooding.

The Illinois River in the northeast part of the state was at record flood stage and was expected to crest at 29 feet, according to the state Department of Emergency Management. The previous record was 27.9 feet.

More than 165,000 customers across the state remained without power Monday afternoon, the state's main electric utilities reported.

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Multiple highways in the western and central regions of the state were closedbecause of flooding, black ice and downed power lines, according to the state Transportation Department.

And state officials were warning of what was to follow the snow and rain: "bitterly" cold temperatures beginning Tuesday.

In Missouri — where a state of emergency was declared Sunday and where flooding, freezing rain and snow snow were forecast across the state — more than 4,000 customers were without power Monday, according to the state Department of Public Safety.

Gov. Jay Nixon said there had been 10 storm-related deaths, including those of four international soldiers who were temporarily stationed at Fort Leonard Wood. The soldiers' vehicle was swept into a creek Sunday, causing them to drown, according to an Army spokesman. A fifth person who was in the car was still missing.

In the days to come, Nixon said, he expected more flooding and more deaths. "We're a long way from the finish of this," he said.

The U.S. State Department is notifying relatives, it said.

In the Dallas area of north Texas, where 11 people were killed after nine confirmed twisters ravaged the area Saturday, rain hampered emergency crews late into Sunday night.

In New Mexico, Gov. Susana Martinez also declared a state of emergency Sunday, saying 16 inches of snow had fallen in some parts of the state, making roads impassable. "This is a dire situation," especially in the eastern half of the state where the storm has hit hardest and continues to dump snow, Martinez said.

Later in the week, as the system moves northeast, it will also likely spread snow and ice through the Midwest and into New England. Snow will develop Monday night across much of New England and parts of northern and eastern New York, forecasters said. 

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