CHICAGO, March 1 (UPI) -- Severe weather raked a large portion of the U.S. Midwest, Plains and South Thursday, spawning tornadoes, shutting down highways and forcing cancellations.
At least seven people were killed by tornadoes in Alabama, five of them students at Enterprise High School, the Birmingham News reported. At least 40 people were injured in Enterprise, a town just north of the Florida border.
The same storm system spawned a tornado that killed a 7-year-old girl in a mobile home near West Plains, Mo., The New York Times reported.
Iowa transportation officials shut down several interstate highways because of blizzard conditions, WHO-TV, Des Moines, reported. The Department of Transportation warned no emergency assistance would be available along the closed roadways and advised against travel.
The University of Minnesota and other schools in Minneapolis canceled all activities after 2:30 p.m. Thursday because of forecasts of 15 to 20 inches of snow. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported the state police had closed several highways because of blizzard conditions.
In Kansas, tornadoes destroyed buildings in Anderson and Linn counties after hours of heavy rain and hail pounded the area south of Kansas City, The Kansas City (Mo.) Star reported.
The National Weather Service reported that tornadoes were spotted near Blairstown, Mo., and Louisburg, Kan., Wednesday night.
The Weather Channel said the tornado threat would continue overnight in southeast Kansas, eastern Oklahoma and in most of Missouri and Arkansas.