Alabama governor to tour flood-stricken area

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley will tour areas in his state damaged by floods a day after declaring a state of emergency in all counties affected by excessive rain.

The governor’s office said in a statement that nearly 200 roads in the state are closed due to flooding.

Bentley will visit, among other places, Elba Elementary School, where dozens of flood victims took shelter Friday night.

Unseasonably warm temperatures across the southeastern U.S. this week spawned severe weather blamed for deaths in Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas. A total of 15 people were killed.

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9:20 a.m.

The Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles are bracing for what National Weather Service forecasters are calling a “historic blizzard.”

Between 6 to 15 inches of snow are in the forecast for the region, which includes Amarillo and Lubbock. High winds will drive wind chills as low as 10 below zero and cause low visibility due to blowing and drifting snow.

The blizzard warning for the region takes effect at 6 p.m. Saturday and runs through noon Monday.

Other parts of Texas and Oklahoma, including El Paso, are under winter storm warnings, while North Texas, central Oklahoma and central Kansas are under a winter storm watch.

Widespread rain has prompted flash flood watches in eastern Texas, eastern Oklahoma, most of Arkansas, central and southern Missouri and Illinois and central Indiana.

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9:45 a.m.

The National Weather Service has issued flood warnings for parts of northern Alabama following days of heavy rain and severe weather.

The NWS says moderate flooding is occurring and major flooding is forecast for Big Nance Creek, which runs through the town of Courtland in northern Alabama. The area is about 40 miles east of Huntsville. The creek is not expected to fall below flood stage until early Monday.

A flood warning was also in effect for the Coosa River, swollen by up to 8 inches of rain over the past week. The biggest town threatened by the rise in the Coosa is Gadsden in northeastern Alabama.

The NWS is warning drivers to stay off roads in areas where flooding is expected.

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