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Snow storm, tornadoes in forecast for 60 million Americans

A fast-moving storm has already knocked out power in Nevada and dumped snow on the Rockies. As it moves east, blizzard-like conditions are forecast in an area stretching to the Great Lakes, threatening residents of Iowa and northern Missouri with thunderstorms and even tornadoes.

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National Storm Prediction Center outlook for severe weather on Wednesday.

NOAA

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As a fast-moving storm races east from Colorado, it appears winter may be suddenly arrive for several Midwest states.

Nearly 60 million Americans could face severe weather conditions threatening an area stretching from the Rocky Mountains to the Great Lakes with heavy snow, high winds, thunderstorms, and even tornadoes.

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Winter storm or blizzard warning conditions have been issued for parts of Utah, New Mexico, Wyoming Colorado, Nebraska, and Kansas beginning early Wednesday and stretching into the afternoon and evening.

Winds are expected to be about 30 to 40 miles per hour, with gusts of up to 55 to 60 mph in some areas. Noting the potential for white-out conditions, the weather service is urging people to stay home.

"It's definitely a chance of severe weather, a severe weather risk no doubt worth paying attention to," Jared Guyer, a forecaster at the the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center in Oklahoma, told the Associated Press.

On Tuesday, wet, heavy snow hit Nevada, as the storm moved eastward, knocking out power for thousands and forcing schools to close in Reno, NBC News reports.

As the southern portion of the storm moves east, it may run into warmer, humid air, producing the threat of thunderstorms and even tornadoes in Iowa and northern Missouri, the National Weather Service says.

Severe thunderstorms are also expected as the storm moves into northern and central Illinois.

November storms can be tricky to predict, but aren’t unusual, forecasters say.

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“November has a history of producing some significant weather events. We will have to keep an eye on things," Greg Carbin, warning coordination meteorologist at the Storm Prediction Center told the AP.

In Denver, about 50 flights have been cancelled in anticipation of the bad weather, only a small portion of the 1,500 daily flights at Denver International Airport, a spokesman told the AP.

While about three or four inches of snow fell on Denver, with more expected this morning, 12 inches have fallen on the Rockies.

For workers at one coffee shop in Sterling, Colorado, the storm was just business as usual. At Pi Kappa Cino Coffee, workers had stocked up on food and beverages on Tuesday in anticipation of the first snowstorm of the season.

“We always try to keep prepared for the winter, keeping extra water on hand and checking the heaters,” owner Patricia Prescott told the AP. "Business normally picks up because everyone wants our warm drinks."

Material from the Associated Press was used in this story.