Stormy weather across the West blamed in eight deaths moved steadily eastward, prompting alerts of wintry conditions in New Mexico and Texas. Forecasters said the storm system in the West would sweep across the South and toward the Atlantic coast in the coming week, causing problems for holiday travelers. The "Nordic outbreak" will "produce a mixed bag of wily weather that will end up impacting much of the nation," National Weather Service meteorologist Joe Harris said.
Parts of New Mexico had already been hit with snow and freezing rain that caused a rollover accident that killed a 4-year-old girl in the eastern part of the state. Three other storm-related deaths were reported yesterday in a crash in the Texas Panhandle involving nearly a dozen vehicles. In California, where the storm system hit first, prompting flooding and water rescues in recent days, three deaths have been linked to the storms since Thursday, as authorities found one body near downed power lines, one man crashed his vehicle into a tree, and a woman was killed when a tree fell on a parked car. In Arizona, firefighters recovered the body of a man who was swept away by high waters Friday in the Santa Cruz River in the southern part of the state. (Read more severe weather stories.)