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Six Die in Southern Storms

***UPDATE 7:27 P.M. WEDNESDAY***(AP) – A blizzard warning for southeast Missouri has been cancelled about 4 hours before it was scheduled to expire after a winter storm dumped several inches of snow in the state’s Bootheel.The National Weather Service in Paducah, Ky., says snowfall in Missouri through Wednesday morning ranged from 3 1/2 inches to 9 1/2 inches, with the heaviest accumulations in the Sikeston area.A meteorologist in Springfield says the storm slid farther south than initially anticipated and spared most of the Ozarks from significant snowfall.Missouri State Highway Patrol spokesman Clark Parrott says drivers apparently heeded warnings from the patrol and Department of Transportation to stay off the roads. Troopers didn’t investigate many accidents caused by the weather.Ameren Missouri was reporting about 2,600 customers without electricity as of mid-morning.At least six deaths are being blamed on the storm, which spawned Gulf Coast region tornadoes on Christmas Day and a historic amount of snow in Arkansas before pushing through the Upper Ohio Valley and heading toward the Northeast on Wednesday.The aviation tracking website says more than 1,400 flights have been canceled. The New York City-area’s three major airports are experiencing hour-long delays.Thirty-four tornadoes were reported in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama during the outbreak Tuesday, the National Weather Service said.***ORIGINAL STORY***CAPE GIRARDEAU (AP) — Officials are discouraging travel in southeastern Missouri until crews clear the roads from what was expected to be heavy snowfall with blizzard conditions.The National Weather Service placed 13 counties from the Bootheel to north of Cape Girardeau under a blizzard warning from Tuesday night to midday Wednesday. Total accumulations were expected to range from three inches in the Bootheel to 12 inches farther north.The Missouri Department of Transportation issued a travel advisory late Tuesday afternoon urging motorists to stay off the roads. State maintenance engineer Beth Wright said whiteout conditions would make driving dangerous and complicate road-clearing efforts.MoDOT recommends checking its online Traveler Information Map for current road conditions. The agency also says its free Traveler Information app for tablets and mobile devices has recently been upgraded.

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