Three children swept away in Arizona flooding as storm strikes area, town near Grand Canyon declares state …

The body of a missing 5-year-old boy has been found and two other children are still missing after their vehicle was carried away by floodwaters that struck central Arizona Friday, as a low-pressure system brought heavy storms that closed down roads and left thousands in the area without power.

“They’ve found the body of a 5-year-old boy. They are continuing the search for the two kids still missing,” said the Gila County Sheriff’s Office, according to Fox 10 Phoenix.

The sheriff’s office said over 50 professionals and volunteers were deployed to search for the children — two of them aged five and one aged six — after their family got caught in Tonto Creek, about 200 miles east of Pheonix. Two of the adults and four other children in the submerged RV were rescued by a helicopter after managing to get crawl out of the vehicle.

STORM THREATENS DISRUPTION ON BUSIEST TRAVEL WEEKEND

A state of emergency was meanwhile declared in Tusayan, Arizona, a town south of Grand Canyon National Park, due to heavy snow and lack of electricity, while holiday traffic slowed to a crawl after the inclement weather struck parts of northern Arizona, California, and Oregon this week, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

Street signs are covered in snow in north Flagstaff, Ariz., Friday, Nov. 29, 2019. A powerful storm making its way east from California is threatening major disruptions during the year's busiest travel weekend, as forecasters warned that intensifying snow and ice could thwart millions across the country hoping to get home after Thanksgiving. 

Street signs are covered in snow in north Flagstaff, Ariz., Friday, Nov. 29, 2019. A powerful storm making its way east from California is threatening major disruptions during the year’s busiest travel weekend, as forecasters warned that intensifying snow and ice could thwart millions across the country hoping to get home after Thanksgiving. 
(Arizona Daily Sun via AP)

The heavy snow forced sections of Interstate 17 and 40 to close last Thursday into early Friday in northern Arizona and one hundred miles of Interstate in Northern California was shut down on Thursday because of multiple cars spinning out, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Several other roads were closed on Friday morning in Northern Arizona. The interstate reopened midday on Friday.

The Flagstaff area received 8 to 12 inches of snow as of early Friday and the National Weather Service said travel was not recommended in the area.

A city snowplow helps clear roads north of downtown Flagstaff, Ariz., Friday, Nov. 29, 2019. A powerful storm making its way east from California is threatening major disruptions during the year's busiest travel weekend, as forecasters warned that intensifying snow and ice could thwart millions across the country hoping to get home after Thanksgiving. The storm has already killed at least one person and shut down highways in the western U.S., stranding drivers in California and prompting authorities in Arizona to plead with travelers to wait out the weather before attempting to travel. 

A city snowplow helps clear roads north of downtown Flagstaff, Ariz., Friday, Nov. 29, 2019. A powerful storm making its way east from California is threatening major disruptions during the year’s busiest travel weekend, as forecasters warned that intensifying snow and ice could thwart millions across the country hoping to get home after Thanksgiving. The storm has already killed at least one person and shut down highways in the western U.S., stranding drivers in California and prompting authorities in Arizona to plead with travelers to wait out the weather before attempting to travel. 
(Arizona Daily Sun via AP)

Three “unusual” tornados were also reported to have struck Pheonix on Friday, the first time since 1950 that three twisters were observed on the same day in Maricopa county, according to the National Weather Service.

In California, heavy snow crept through the higher elevation areas, forcing a portion of Interstate 5 to close from Grapevine to Castaic on Thursday morning. Motorists were reported to have spent hours on the road, with some even spending the night in their vehicles.

TWO SEMIS OVERTURN ON UTAH HIGHWAY AS WINTER STORM BRINGS STRONG WINDS

The storm which knocked down trees and power in the area also closed several other major routes in Southern California. 48 inches of snow was measured at Big Bear Lake, California and Snowbasin, Utah, the NWS said.

On Saturday, the snow is expected to wind down in the west before bringing blizzard conditions to parts of the Great Plains and northern Midwest on Saturday. Strong winds — which could reach 85 miles per hour in Boulder, Colorado — are expected to last through Saturday afternoon, the outlet reported.

On Sunday, a winter storm named “Ezekiel” is also expected to bring potential blizzard conditions as it moves from the great plains to the eastern United States. The storm, which is expected to reach the area late Sunday into Monday has the potential to be the first major snow for areas like New York City and Boston, according to the NWS.

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American Airlines and Delta Air lines are currently offering flight waivers for Sunday and Monday due to the potential storms.

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