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Early season snowstorm slams Midwestern states causing massive air traffic snarl

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A heavy fall snowstorm hit the Midwestern United States on Saturday, blanketing states from South Dakota to Wisconsin with as much as 16 inches (40 cm) of snow, and was forecast to travel east into the Great Lakes region, according to the National Weather Service.

Some 4 to 8 inches (10-20 cm) of snow was forecast from northern Illinois through central Michigan with snow expected to continue into Sunday.

Forecasters warned that trees that had not already dropped their leaves could be damaged by the heavy, wet snow.

“We have snow across the area with heavier amounts across northern Illinois,” said Amy Seeley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Chicago.

While it is uncommon for the Midwest to see such heavy snowfall so early in the year, the storm is not unprecedented, Seeley said, noting that an early November storm in 1951 dropped 9.3 inches of snow over the year.

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“This has happened before, but obviously it’s not as common to have this much snow in November,” she said.

Snow was forecast to continue into the early evening hours, with single-digit Fahrenheit temperatures hitting parts of the northern Midwest overnight, she said.

The storm affected air travel, with 457 U.S. flights canceled by Saturday morning, with Chicago’s O’Hare International and Midway International airports the hardest hit. One in three Midway departures had been canceled by 9:30 a.m. CT (1530 GMT).

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The Illinois and Michigan Departments of Transportation warned that snow and ice-covered roads would slow travel.

(Reporting by Scott Malone in Boston; Editing by Digby Lidstone)


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American, Italian and Russian blast off for ISS

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US, Italian and Russian astronauts blasted into space Saturday, headed for the International Space Station, in a launch coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing.

Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, NASA's Andrew Morgan and Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency set off on a six-hour journey to the orbiting science lab from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 1628 GMT.

A NASA TV commentator hailed a "textbook launch" minutes after blastoff in "sweltering" weather in Baikonur, where daytime temperatures reached 43 degrees Celsius on Saturday.

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Megan Rapinoe trashes ‘disgusting’ Trump for his ugly racist tweets in CNN interview

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In an interview with CNN's Van Jones that will air on Saturday night, U.S. Women's soccer champion Megan Rapinoe condemned President Donald Trump's racist attacks on four progressive congresswomen of color.

"It's disgusting, to be honest. To say it's disappointing is ... it doesn't even come close," said Rapinoe. She added, "The more that we just are upset about it and don't accept that kind of behavior from all sides, then the better place we're going to be."

Trump has faced escalating criticism in the wake of his tweet that Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) ought to "go back" to where they came from if they disagree with his agenda (three of them were born in the United States). The controversy escalated when attendees of his rally in Greenville, North Carolina chanted "Send her back!" about Omar.

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Conservative suggests Trump’s racist rhetoric will incite worse than ‘send her back’ chants: ‘One shudders to wonder’

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In a column for the Washington Post, conservative Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Kathleen Parker said the refusal by Republican lawmakers and the evangelical community to condemn Donald Trump's racist rhetoric is paving the way for something far worse than mere "send her back" chants.

Under a headline that bluntly states, "Those who don’t condemn Trump’s racism are complicit in his bigotry," Parker gets right to her opinion of the president, writing, "Going out on a limb here: President Trump is a racist. And a sexist. And a xenophobic nationalist. Among other things. Not to name call or anything."

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