Developing

US Snow: Storm Leaves Four Dead In America

At least four people have died after a massive snow storm blanketed much of central US, causing road accidents and disrupting travel.

The winter storm, which prompted tornado warnings, affected millions of people in 24 states before the system petered out over the Great Lakes.

Places in Kansas and Missouri saw a foot (30 cms) or more of snow, with emergency crews spending hours digging out and clearing miles of roadways.

Gusty winds and snow-covered roadways made commutes dangerous.

Local television cameras in Kansas City, Missouri, captured a large bus slipping in the snow and crashing into a large lamppost. No one was hurt.

In Gladstone, also in Missouri, a dance studio's roof collapsed from the weight of snow.

Further north in Cincinnati, Ohio, slippery roads meant a dangerous situation for many drivers. One lorry ended up partially hanging off an overpass of a busy road after the driver lost control.

In Cleveland, Ohio, a Continental Airlines plane skidded off runway, ending up resting on its nose, but no one was hurt.

Scattered power cuts were also reported as ice weighed down power lines and strong winds knocked down trees.

Roads and even major highways became completely impassable in some areas

The Minnesota State Patrol blamed the snow for over 500 accidents on Friday.

One driver was killed when she lost control, came to a stop in oncoming traffic and was broadsided by another vehicle in a St Paul suburb.

A 12-year-old boy died from injuries suffered in a collision on an icy highway in northern Nebraska.

A woman in Iowa was run over by her car, which had got stuck on her steep, slippery driveway. And a 70-year-old woman from Kansas died after her car slid and collided with a train.

The National Weather Service said as much as 17 inches of snow had fallen in parts of Colorado and Kansas.

Over the weekend, a second system of winter weather is expected from the Gulf of Mexico - smothering parts of the East Coast with up to two feet of snow on Saturday and Sunday.

The governor of Missouri declared a state of emergency as the storm lashed the midwestern state with a dangerous mix of ice and snow.

"I urge all Missourians to keep a close eye on the weather and avoid unnecessary travel," Governor Jay Nixon said.

The state of Kansas shuttered government offices on Thursday to keep non-essential workers off the treacherous roads and scores of business owners and school officials followed suit.

The blizzard conditions were so intense in some areas that snow ploughs were getting stuck and ambulances had trouble getting patients to hospitals.

The storm comes after play at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship in Tucson, Arizona, had to be postponed after snow covered the course.