02-19-2017  10:56 am      •     

(CNN) -- Wildfires, tornadoes, snow, all on the same day. Sure, it sounds weird. But it's not, CNN meteorologist Judson Jones said Tuesday.

"It's just spring," he said.

"Blinding snow and 40 degrees below average does not sound like spring in Denver. On the flip side, the 20 degrees above average forecast for New York City feels more like early summer," he said. "But the unexpected is what we expect in spring."

A day after bizarre weather on Monday in which emergency workers northeast of Denver responded to a wildfire, a possible tornado and a blizzard warning -- all within a 50-mile radius, a storm pouring over the Rockies gave Denver students a rare snow day on Tuesday.

It also caused the cancellation of at least 535 flights at Denver International Airport.

In South Dakota, which was on the lookout for up to 11 inches of snow on Tuesday, nearly four-tenths of an inch of ice had been recorded near Sioux Falls, with more on the way, the National Weather Service reported.

"It was 65 all last week!" CNN iReporter Nathan Zacher said. "Normally around 55 degrees this time of year."

The ice was downing trees and making travel tough, he said.

And while the Southeast and parts of the Northeast basked in sunny warmth, residents of the Central Plains braced for the possibility of severe storms, including tornadoes.

Central Oklahoma and parts of north central Texas were under moderate threat of severe thunderstorms, including the possibility of tornadoes, through Tuesday night, Jones said.

About 2.6 million people live in the path of those storms, which includes Oklahoma City and Tulsa in Oklahoma and Wichita Falls in Texas, Jones said.

In Denver on Tuesday, schools were closed, despite grumblings from parents online that there would be too little snow to keep kids home.

In a posting on its website, the district said Monday night that it made the call because it could be too hazardous to put kids on buses in what was expected to be icy, low-visibility conditions Tuesday morning.

At Denver International Airport, the staff said on Twitter that crews were continuing to clear snow and ice from runways and that about half the canceled flights were commuter flights to smaller Rocky Mountain towns.

Monday Weather

The storm follows a busy day in Colorado, where the storm knocked out power to about half the small town of Akron, Colorado, destroyed a mobile home and damaged two other structures, at least one of which was a home, the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management said.

No serious injuries were reported.

While it was not immediately clear if the winds in that storm were from a tornado, a tornado did briefly touch down near Bonny Lake in eastern Colorado on Monday, the National Weather Service reported.

Colorado crews also worked a 2,600-acre wildfire in Sterling County. Colorado has long been in a drought, and it wouldn't take much to spark a fire there, Jones said.

Wet, wet, wet

Inclement weather is not limited to the snow and ice. The National Weather Service said to expect "a plethora of interesting weather conditions."

Flood watches and warnings are in effect for most of Wisconsin on Tuesday, to be followed by freezing rain later in the week.

"Severe thunderstorms and even isolated tornadoes are possible across the central and southern Plains to the mid and lower Mississippi Valley," the weather service said.

By Wednesday, a squall line stretching from Memphis down through Louisiana should roll eastward through the Deep South, pushing through heavy thunderstorms, hail, damaging winds and possibly short-lived tornadoes, forecasters said.

It will be unseasonably warm in the Ohio Valley, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast, the weather service predicts.

It's not all bad

Most of the country will see rain for the better part of the week. That's good news for the Plains and Mountain States, which have seen extreme to exceptional drought for months.

The snow in the Mountain States will extend the fun for winter sport fans, according coloradoski.com.

As ski season winds down, with about half of resorts already closed, some popular slopes are expecting 1 to 5 inches of fresh powder through Wednesday.

The same goes for resorts in Utah.

CNN's Michael Pearson contributed to this report.

 

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All of this has played out amid a steady drip of revelations about an FBI investigation into his campaign's contacts with Russian intelligence officials. Trump says his administration is running like a "fine-tuned machine." He points to the rising stock market and the devotion of his still-loyal supporters as evidence that all is well, although his job approval rating is much lower than that for prior presidents in their first weeks in office. Stung by the unrelenting criticism coming his way, Trump dismisses much of it as "fake news" delivered by "the enemy of the people" — aka the press. Daily denunciations of the media are just one of the new White House fixtures Americans are adjusting to. Most days start (and end) with presidential tweets riffing off of whatever's on TV talk shows or teasing coming events or hurling insults at the media. At some point in the day, count on Trump to cast back to the marvels of his upset of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election and quite possibly overstate his margins of support. Expect more denunciations of the "dishonest" press and its "fake news." From there, things can veer in unexpected directions as Trump offers up policy pronouncements or offhand remarks that leave even White House aides struggling to interpret them. The long-standing U.S. policy of seeking a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Trump this past week offered this cryptic pronouncement: "I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one." His U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, the next day insisted, "We absolutely support a two-state solution." Trump's days are busy. Outside groups troop in for "listening sessions." Foreign leaders call or come to visit. (Or, in the case of Mexico's president, cancel out in pique over Trump's talk about the planned border wall.) After the president signed two dozen executive actions, the White House was awaiting a rush order of more of the gold-plated Cross pens that Trump prefers to the chrome-plated ones used by his predecessor. Trump hands them out as souvenirs at the signing ceremonies that he points to as evidence of his ambitious pace. "This last month has represented an unprecedented degree of action on behalf of the great citizens of our country," Trump said at a Thursday news conference. "Again, I say it. There has never been a presidency that's done so much in such a short period of time." That's all music to the ears of his followers, who sent him to Washington to upend the established order and play the role of disrupter. 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Trump shouldn't mistake the fact that some of his supporters like his style with the fact that a lot of Republicans just want the policies he promised them. He has to deliver that." Put Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the camp of those more interested in substance than style. "I'm not a great fan of daily tweets," McConnell said Friday, referring to the "extra discussion" that Trump likes to engage in. But McConnell was quick to add: "What I am a fan of is what he's been actually doing." He credits Trump with assembling a conservative Cabinet and taking steps to reduce government regulation, and promised: "We like his positions and we're going to pursue them as vigorously as we can." The challenge may be to tease out exactly what Trump wants in the way of a health care plan, tax changes and trade policy. At his long and defiant news conference on Thursday, Trump tried to dispel the impression of a White House in crisis, squarely blaming the press for keeping him from moving forward more decisively on his agenda. Pointing to his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, Trump said, "You take a look at Reince, he's working so hard just putting out fires that are fake fires. I mean, they're fake. They're not true. And isn't that a shame because he'd rather be working on health care, he'd rather be working on tax reform." For all the frustrations of his early days as president, Trump still seems tickled by the trappings of his office. When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie visited the White House last week to discuss the national opioid epidemic over lunch, the governor said Trump informed him: "Chris, you and I are going to have the meatloaf.'" Trump added: "I'm telling you, the meatloaf is fabulous." ___Follow Nancy Benac on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nbenac
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