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Panama City Beach North Florida storms tornadoes ravage areas

A storm hit the South with tornado warnings and high winds, causing damage and power outages, as another storm brought snow.

A massive storm has wreaked havoc across the South and Midwest, bringing tornado warnings, high winds, and heavy snowfall. The storm struck the Florida Panhandle with 55 mph winds and hail, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. In Panama City Beach, parts of roofs were blown away, furniture and debris were strewn about, and homes were left tilted on their sides. The Walton County sheriff's department posted photos of power lines draped across a road, damage to a gas station, and large pieces of building materials littering the area.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order to include 49 counties in North Florida under a state of emergency from tornadoes. Meanwhile, in the Midwest, heavy snowfall blanketed a broad area stretching from southeastern Colorado to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Up to 12 inches of snow could be expected in areas such as western Kansas, eastern Nebraska, large parts of Iowa, northern Missouri, and northwestern Illinois.

The storm has left over 200,000 customers without power in Florida, Alabama, and Georgia. In North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency before the storm approached, and some schools were canceled or shut down early to avoid the threats from high winds and flooding.

The storm is expected to head east, bringing a combination of snow, rain, and strong winds to the Northeast by Tuesday night, along with concerns about flooding. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has already declared a state of emergency ahead of the anticipated heavy rain and wind.

The weather has already affected campaigning for Iowa's Jan. 15 precinct caucuses, forcing former President Donald Trump's campaign to cancel multiple appearances by Arkansas Gov. Sarah Sanders and her father, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who had been scheduled to court Iowa voters on Trump's behalf.

The storm has caused whiteout conditions in central Nebraska and closed a long stretch of Interstate 80, while Kansas closed Interstate 70 from the central city of Russell all the way west to the Colorado border due to dangerous travel conditions. In northern Missouri, officials braced for up to a foot of snow as the system moved east, with Kansas City, Missouri, announcing the closure of City Hall and the operation of municipal courts remotely.

The Chicago area, as well as Gary, Indiana, were under winter storm advisories, with forecasts calling for up to 6 inches of snow and wind gusts of up to 30 mph. Snowfall rates could exceed an inch per hour Tuesday, the weather service said. Another storm is on the way that will affect the Pacific Northwest into the northern Rockies, bringing blizzard warnings for much of the Cascade and Olympic ranges in Washington and Oregon.

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