Storm brings wintry and spring weather

A storm with a 2,000-mile footprint threatened to frustrate Christmas travelers from Texas to Nova Scotia with a little of everything Mother Nature has to offer, from freezing rain, ice and snow to flooding, thunderstorms and at least one tornado in the South.

Making it harder for forecasters to stay a step ahead, the system was a weird swirl of wintry and spring-like weather as it passed over areas in the Midwest. While ice was accumulating in Oklahoma and elsewhere, downing trees and power lines, Memphis, Tenn., was enjoying spring-like weather, with temperatures reaching into the 70s.

Authorities said a suspected tornado injured three people and damaged three homes Saturday evening near Hughes, Ark., which is just 35 miles southwest of Memphis. And David Cox, a National Weather Service meteorologist based in Jackson, Miss., said a second suspected tornado touched down near Dermott in far southeastern Arkansas, injuring two people and damaging about 20 homes.

In the upper Midwest, forecasters were expecting 6-8 inches of snow north and west of Chicago and in Wisconsin.

It was already bringing significant ice accumulations to Oklahoma, southern Missouri and northern Arkansas, splitting trees and snapping power lines. That was expected to change over to snow by Saturday night.

Northern New England was bracing for an ice storm Saturday night and into Sunday that forecasters said could bring more than a half-inch of ice to parts Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, which would make roads treacherous and cause widespread power outages.

The weather service issued a flash flood watch from Arkansas northeastward through parts of Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, with up to 4 inches of rain projected.

— Associated Press

Target shoppers face lower cash limits

At least 2 million shoppers who used bank debit cards at Target stores during its recent data breach are facing lower limits on how much cash they can take out of teller machines and spend at stores.

JPMorgan Chase said Saturday it is notifying customers who used Chase-brand debit cards at Target from Nov. 27 through Dec. 15 that they are limited to $100 a day of cash withdrawals and $300 a day of purchases with their cards.

The new limit effects roughly 2 million accounts, or 10 percent of Chase debit cards, according to a spokeswoman for Chase, the consumer banking business of JPMorgan, the biggest U.S. bank by assets. Chase said it acted as a precaution to prevent criminals from taking money from customer accounts. Chase and other banks say they will cover unauthorized transactions that customers report.

Representatives of other major banks, including Bank of America and Citigroup, said Saturday their institutions had taken steps to protect accounts, but none of the banks described specific actions that were as broadly limiting to card holders as those of Chase. A Target spokeswoman said that for the debit card called Redcard that it issues, the company has activated a “deeper fraud monitoring protocol.” She did not describe the new steps.

— Reuters

Confusion in Utah after same-sex marriage ruling: A day after a judge’s surprise ruling overturned Utah’s same-sex marriage ban, at least one county clerk did not open his office on Saturday as planned to issue licenses. About 300 people showed up at the Weber County clerk’s office Saturday afternoon but were turned away without marriage licenses. Clerk Ricky Hatch apologized and said that county officials had told him that opening for special circumstances may violate constitutional guarantees of equal protection. The confusion Saturday and reports of other crowds scrambling to find an open office illustrated how same-sex marriage caught many in Utah off guard. The state has given notice that it will appeal the ruling and has asked for an emergency stay to stop gay couples from getting marriage licenses.

Denver student shot by classmate dies: Claire Davis, the 17-year-old who was shot in the head by a classmate at Arapahoe High School, died Saturday afternoon, hospital officials said. Davis was shot at point-blank range by Karl Halvorsen Pierson, 18, who then turned the gun on himself.

— From news services