Midwest braces for ice storm that has already frozen much of region

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Roads are closed, trees are snapping and flights are canceled across much of the nation's midsection today as a stalled storm dumps more ice on the region.

The National Weather Service posted ice and winter storm warnings Tuesday for parts of Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois.

About an inch of ice was expected over parts of Iowa, followed by up to 5 inches of sleet and snow.

The storm has left at least 18 dead in Oklahoma and Missouri, with 15 of them killed on slick highways. Officials in Kansas and Oklahoma declared states of emergency.

Oklahoma utilities say 500,000 customers were blacked out as power lines snapped under the weight of ice and falling trees. It's the biggest power outage in state history. Utilities in Missouri had more than 100,000 homes and business without power.

Schools across Oklahoma are closed and some hospitals are relying on backup power generators. The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers sent 50 generators and three truckloads of bottled water from Texas to distribute to blacked-out areas of Oklahoma.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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