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Dec 25, 2012 10:12 AM

CHRISTMAS WEATHER

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Authorities in Oklahoma are warning travelers to stay home today, after freezing rain and sleet sent cars sliding off roads. The dangerous conditions led to a 21-vehicle pileup in Oklahoma City.

The rain and sleet are part of a storm system stretching from eastern New Mexico across the Southern Plains. Some parts of the Ozarks in Arkansas could get up to 10 inches of snow with near whiteout conditions.

The storm is expected to move later into Missouri, southern Illinois and Indiana. Blizzard warnings for the three states are in effect from this evening into tomorrow morning. A blizzard watch is posted for parts of Indiana and western Kentucky for storms that could bring 4 to 7 inches of snow in the coming hours.

The pileup in Oklahoma City began when a semitrailer jackknifed on Interstate 40 on a bridge over the Oklahoma River. Other vehicles hit the truck, and then other semis slid into them.

Several Gulf Coast states, meanwhile, are bracing for a chance of twisters, high winds and powerful thunderstorms.

Hail early today in western Louisiana is expected to be just the start of the severe weather threat for the region.

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