50 people in 50 days: Texas girl vanished after leaving bus
February 2nd, 2011
11:51 PM ET

50 people in 50 days: Texas girl vanished after leaving bus

Editor's note: Nancy Grace's new show on HLN, "Nancy Grace: America's Missing," is dedicated to finding 50 people in 50 days. As part of the effort, which relies heavily on audience participation, CNN.com's news blog This Just In will feature the stories of the missing.

This is the 13th case, and it aired Wednesday night on HLN.

Alexandria "Ali" Lowitzer, 16, was last seen getting off a bus just three houses down from her Spring, Texas, home on April 26.

Shortly before that, she spoke to her mother about her plans to pick up her paycheck from a restaurant just a half-mile walk from the bus stop. Restaurant employees say Ali never made it there.

Police classified her as a runaway. There is no sign of foul play, but her parents feels that something terrible has happened to their daughter.

The day's most popular stories
February 2nd, 2011
11:15 PM ET

The day's most popular stories

The five most popular stories on CNN.com in the past 24 hours, according to NewsPulse:

Halle Berry to fight for custody of daughter: Halle Berry (pictured) says she's preparing to go to court with her ex Gabriel Aubry over custody of their 2 1/2-year-old daughter Nahla.

Anderson Cooper, crew attacked in Cairo: CNN's Anderson Cooper explains how his crew was attacked in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Wednesday while trying to cover clashes between anti-government demonstrators and pro-goverment crowds.

Opinion: Bush daughter adds to Obama's problems: Columnist LZ Granderson writes: "If Bush's daughter supports gay marriage, what's Obama's problem?"

Egypt crisis: Blog of latest developments: A live blog of developments in Egypt, where government supporters clashed with antu-government protesters.

Mubarak says he won't run again; protesters say it's not enough: Bowing to eight days of protests, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said Tuesday he will not seek office again in elections scheduled for September, but vowed to stay in the country and finish his term.


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Dollars & Sense: 10% discounts on flat screens; foreclosure hot spots
Flat-screen TVs are selling at pre-Super Bowl discounts that are deeper than usual.
February 2nd, 2011
11:03 PM ET

Dollars & Sense: 10% discounts on flat screens; foreclosure hot spots

Big TV bargains for the Super Bowl: The week before the Super Bowl typically brings sales of up to 10% off the listed price for flat-screen TVs. But weak holiday sales are leading to even steeper discounts of 20% to 30%. And from ogres to hot chicks, here's a sneak peek at this year’s hot Super Bowl ads.

U.S. seizes 10 sports streaming websites: Each of the seized sites aggregated illegal, pirated broadcasts and provided links to site visitors. Some of the world's biggest sports leagues were allegedly victimized, including the NFL, NBA, NHL, WWE and UFC.

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Filed under: Business • Dollars & Sense • Economy
Egypt crisis: Guns fired in central Cairo early Thursday
Vehicles burn in front of Cairo's Egyptian Museum early Thursday as people protesting against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak face off against pro-Mubarak crowds.
February 2nd, 2011
10:35 PM ET

Egypt crisis: Guns fired in central Cairo early Thursday

Read full coverage of the unrest in Egypt updated continually by CNN reporters worldwide. Send your photos and video to iReport and see CNN in Arabic here. See also this strong roundup of timely, insightful views on the wave of upheaval in the Arab world.

[Update 5:35 a.m. Thursday in Cairo, 10:35 p.m. ET Wednesday] The U.S. State Department has offered via Twitter an amended advisory to U.S. citizens in Egypt, saying now that those who wish to depart Egypt on a U.S. government-chartered flight should report to the airport "ASAP after the morning end of curfew."

Earlier, the department tweeted that such U.S. citizens should report to the airport immediately.

[Update 5:16 a.m. Thursday in Cairo, 10:16 p.m. ET Wednesday] All remaining U.S. citizens who wish to depart Egypt on a U.S. government-chartered flight "should report to airport immediately," the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs said via Twitter minutes ago.

"Further delay is not advisable," the tweet said.

The State Department offers further information for U.S. citizens in Egypt on the department's website.

[Update 4:51 a.m. Thursday in Cairo, 9:51 p.m. ET Wednesday] CNN's Ivan Watson, reporting on the gunfire that was heard in central Cairo minutes ago, said it took place along the barricaded edges of Tahrir Square, where anti-government protesters stayed through the night, facing off with pro-government people.

CNN personnel are seeing wounded being carried into Tahrir Square from the Egyptian Museum entrance to the square. Ambulances also are coming into the square.

Watson reported that he could hear both automatic gunfire and single shots, and that perhaps six young men - possibly wounded - were carried away. One appeared to have been shot in the abdomen, Watson reported.

[Update 4:33 a.m. Thursday in Cairo, 9:33 p.m. ET Wednesday] Heavy gunfire reverberated in central Cairo early Thursday as anti- and pro-government protesters continued to face off at Tahrir Square.

[Update 3:43 a.m. Thursday in Cairo, 8:43 p.m. ET Wednesday] Chartered flights evacuating U.S. citizens from Cairo will run again on Thursday, but after that, U.S. officials will assess whether the operation should be continued, the U.S. State Department said.

More than 1,900 U.S. citizens and their family members have left Egypt since an evacuation operation began Monday, according to State Department statement. The State Department has been providing passage for any U.S. citizen wishing to leave Egypt.

[Update 3:28 a.m. Thursday in Cairo, 8:28 p.m. ET Wednesday] In the video below, CNN's Ivan Watson reports on the Molotov cocktails that have been thrown Wednesday night and Thursday morning between supporters of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and anti-Mubarak protesters outside Cairo's Egyptian Museum.

Watson reports of a "constant stream of wounded people being brought from these front lines between these two warring camps," and "people being treated along the sidewalks, underneath the street lamps ... by medics in lab coats."

"We've seen teams of opposition protesters who've been hard at work digging up the asphalt here in Tahrir Square to pull out stones to use as ammunition in the ongoing battles that have gone thoughout the day," Watson said early Thursday.

[Update 3:15 a.m. Thursday in Cairo, 8:15 p.m. ET Wednesday] Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman has reiterated the government stance that the people have been heard, that they should go home and that they should stop demonstrating.

Protesters should respect the curfew and "enable people to return to their jobs and their daily lives, and to allow schools and universities to reopen," he said in a statement.

People protesting against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak still are in Cairo's Tahrir Square. Some of them have set up sheet-metal barricades outside the Egyptian Museum to hold off some pro-Mubarak crowds, who on Wednesday engaged in bloody clashes with the protesters. The pro-Mubarak people, who dwindled in number Wednesday night into early Thursday morning, still are lobbing Molotov cocktails at the protesters.

The Health Ministry has said three people died and 639 were injured in Wednesday's clashes in Cairo. CNN reporters at the square early Thursday morning say medics have been tending to the wounded in makeshift triage areas, and ambulances were arriving every few minutes. The Egyptian military is at the square and the museum but generally have stood by during the clashes, CNN reporters have said.

[Update 2:54 a.m. Thursday in Cairo, 7:54 p.m. ET Wednesday] The video below is a roundup, from CNN's correspondents in Cairo, of what happened during Wednesday's demonstrations and clashes between anti-Mubarak protesters and people supporting the president.

[Update 2:21 a.m. Thursday in Cairo, 7:21 p.m. ET Wednesday] At least three fires are burning outside Cairo's Egyptian Museum as people supporting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak throw Molotov cocktails toward anti-Mubarak protesters, CNN's Anderson Cooper reports.

The number in the pro-Mubarak crowd has dwindled, and anti-Mubarak protesters - having slowly advanced behind tall sheets of metal - have controlled the area in front of the museum near Tahrir Square for the past few hours. Anti-Mubarak protesters have been banging on the metal into the night. Some of them are having to dodge Molotov cocktails thrown by the other side, Cooper said.

"Every time one of the Molotov cocktails thrown by the pro-Mubarak forces hits inside a crowd of people in the anti-Mubarak group, you can hear a cheer going up from the pro-Mubarak side," Cooper said.

Sustained automatic weapons fire also could be heard early Thursday around Cairo's Tahrir Square, the epicenter of nine days of protests calling for Mubarak's ouster.

[Update 2:15 a.m. Thursday in Cairo, 7:15 p.m. ET Wednesday] Ambulances were arriving every few minutes early Thursday at a hospital about a 10-minute drive from Tahrir Square, scene of bloody mayhem in Cairo. Many of the wounded have injuries to the head. Others have stab wounds or were burned by Molotov cocktails.

[Update 1:15 a.m. Thursday in Cairo, 6:15 p.m. ET Wednesday] A tree outside Cairo's Egyptian Museum appears to be on fire, and Molotov cocktails still ocassionally are being thrown between groups of protesters, CNN's Hala Gorani reports.

People protesting against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak earlier pushed back pro-Mubarak crowds from the street in front of the museum, near Tahrir Square. Though Molotov cocktails still are being thrown, the two sides don't appear to be in physical contact.

[Update 12:40 a.m. Thursday in Cairo, 5:40 p.m. ET Wednesday] In the following video, CNN's Anderson Cooper reports on being attacked as he and colleagues tried to approach supporters of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo on Wednesday.

[Update 12:16 a.m. Thursday in Cairo, 5:16 p.m. ET Wednesday] People protesting against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak appear to have pushed pro-Mubarak crowds away from Cairo's Egyptian Museum, though the two sides still are clashing, with Molotov cocktails being thrown, CNN's Anderson Cooper and Ivan Watson report. Molotov cocktails have been thrown for hours.

A few vehicles have been set on fire in front of the museum. The military is there, but is not doing much other than putting out fires in front of the museum, Watson said.

Hundreds, maybe thousands, of people are still in and around Tahrir Square, Watson reported. Medics are tending to some wounded people, and many protesters are wearing slings or bandages, Watson said.

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Reporter overlooking Cairo melee: Sounds 'like a castle siege'
February 2nd, 2011
07:05 PM ET

Reporter overlooking Cairo melee: Sounds 'like a castle siege'

Editor's note: CNN reporter Ivan Watson filed the following observations Wednesday evening from a balcony overlooking Cairo's Tahrir Square, where people protesting against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak clashed with his supporters.

Outside our window, it sounds like a castle siege during medieval times: thousands of voices and the repetitive clank of militants digging up stones and pillaging construction material for protective barricades.

This afternoon, a man in a gray shirt stood in the middle of the street in Tahrir, speaking aloud and holding his hand over his heart - apparently overwhelmed by the violence.

Some of the many bleeding men we've seen carried back from the front lines are placed on the pavement around what was a traffic cop's station under our window. Women give them water and use cotton to swab the blood.

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Filed under: Egypt
Video: CNN reporters in the midst of violence in Egypt
Anderson Cooper, CNN crew attacked
February 2nd, 2011
06:48 PM ET

Video: CNN reporters in the midst of violence in Egypt

CNN's Anderson Cooper and his crew were attacked in Tahrir Square by protesters Wednesday.  Cooper said he was hit on the head by a pro-Mubarak demonstrator in front of the Egyptian Museum.  CNN producer MaryAnne Fox and a cameraman were attacked, too.

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Elementary school principal killed in shooting; man arrested
Police arrested janitor John Luebbers, 44, in connection with the shooting.
February 2nd, 2011
06:28 PM ET

Elementary school principal killed in shooting; man arrested

The principal of an elementary school in northern California was shot to death Wednesday, police said.

Placerville Police Chief George Nielsen identified the victim as Sam Lacara, 50, the principal of Schnell School, who was shot in the upper torso.

John Luebbers, 44, a custodial employee, was arrested in connection with the shooting, which was believed to have stemmed from a dispute between the two men, Nielsen said.

No schoolchildren were injured, but authorities believe one student may have seen the shooting.

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Snowstorm update: 11,000 flights canceled, ice falling in New York
The burning question: How will the storm affect the Super Bowl?
February 2nd, 2011
04:00 PM ET

Snowstorm update: 11,000 flights canceled, ice falling in New York

A massive snowstorm blasted the United States heartland and brought blizzard conditions to three-quarters of the country. Chicago, Illinois, was sacked with more than two feet of snow. The city closed schools for the first time in 12 years. The ice and snow affected areas from New England to New Mexico. Thousands are without power. Most officials are urging people not to travel unless it's absolutely necessary. Share your snow images with CNN iReport. Follow @CNNTravel on Twitter for the latest updates.

 [Update 11:30 p.m. ET]   On Wednesday night, President Obama approved a request from Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin for an emergency disaster declaration for the state's 77 counties, a move that will expedite post-storm assistance, according to a statement from FEMA.  Fallin had declared a state of emergency on Monday in advance of the storm, a release from the state's Department of Emergency Management said.

[Update 9:30 p.m. ET] An Arctic cold front followed the storm that dumped nearly 2 feet of snow in some locales, complicating cleanup efforts and spurring freeze warnings that spanned much of the nation's midsection.  In much of Wisconsin, for instance, wind chill values were expected between 20 and 25 degrees below zero on Wednesday night, according to the National Weather Service.       

[Update 9:20 p.m. ET] Rolling power outages swept across Texas on Wednesday as a result of the blustery weather, officials said. The Public Utility Commission of Texas said rotating outages would be limited to 10 to 45 minutes, unless equipment fails due to a power surge during the restoration process, according to the statement. Fifty power plants were out statewide due to the extreme weather, leading to the 10%-15% reduction in electricity production, said utility commission spokesman Terry Hadley.

[Update 5:10 p.m. ET] In Massachusetts, a number of roofs collapsed under the weight of rain-soaked snow, including the roof of a large commercial building in the town of Easton, according to fire captain David Beals. Up to 100 employees were evacuated before the collapse, he said. There were no injuries reported.

[Update 4:10 p.m. ET] Major airlines have canceled at least 11,000 flights since the storm began. Delta has canceled more than 1,175 flights for Wednesday, while American Airlines scrubbed more than 1,000 flights. American Airlines is allowing travelers who are scheduled to fly from more than 30 airports in the Midwest - including those in Chicago, Detroit and Milwaukee, Wisconsin - to change their plans without penalty. Hundreds of Southwest Airlines flights are grounded. Passengers with reservations for travel through Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit and other cities are eligible to reschedule their flights.

[Update 3:40 p.m. ET] Because of warming temperatures, huge chunks of ice are reportedly falling in New York.

[Update 3 p.m. ET] Interstate 70 has reopened across Missouri, transportation officials told the Kansas City Star.

[Update 2:30 p.m. ET] The massive storm is going to cost Milwaukee, Wisconsin, about $1 million, WITI reports. It's going to be quite a job, especially at the airport. Watch a plow try to make headway at Mitchell Airport.

[Update 2:15 p.m. ET] Maybe you'll recognize this building from Bill Murray's movie "Groundhog Day." It was covered by 18 to 24 inches of snow. This Woodstock, Illinois, lodge is where the bachelor dance scene was shot.

[Update 1:50 p.m. ET] Both of Chicago's airports are open but flights are grounded. Empty cars are everywhere on city streets. For hours, many were trapped in their vehicles, WLS in Chicago reports. The famous Bean sculpture in Millennium Park still looks beautiful.

– There are "waves of snow" on the shore of Lake Michigan, says iReporter Saskia Harak.

[Update 1:30 p.m. ET] Mail delivery workers are frustrated in Springfield, Massachusetts, reports CBS 3.

[Update 1 p.m. ET] Though most people had trouble getting around in Dallas on Wednesday, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay packers had an advantage - personal sand trucks to escort them from their hotel to Cowboys Stadium where they will face off at the Super Bowl on Sunday. WFAA has the full report.

– Icy conditions are making it nearly impossible to get around in Ohio, reports WBNS.

– Schools are trying to figure out how to make up snow days. Massachusetts is trying to do the math, according to WSHM. In Indianapolis, Indiana, which was hit with a major ice storm, Little People's Prep Day School and Arlington Elementary did not close. In fact, they boasted that they have never closed or altered schedules due to weather.

[Update 12:20 p.m. ET] Dallas is experiencing rolling black-outs, a highly unusual occurrence for the city. Officials are shutting off electricity in parts of the city for a short time to conserve power. WFAA explains what the outages mean. For some public transportation passengers, it means a frustrating experience.

– High winds are hampering emergency crews near Chicago, local reporters say.

[Update 11:40 a.m. ET] Tulsa International Airport will re-open at noon.

[Update 11:10 a.m. ET] Scores of flights have been canceled going through O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, one of the Unites States' major airports. Flightstats.com is tracking many of them.

– Good news, Groundhog Phil has predicted an early spring. Follow the predicting critter on Twitter #Punxsutawny

[Update 10:15 a.m. ET] At a morning press conference, Chicago emergency management director Jose Santiago said there will likely be 15 to 20 inches of snow on the ground - 25 inches in some places - by the time the storm leaves the area. A blizzard warning remains in effect for all of metropolitan Chicago until 3 p.m., Santiago said. An iReporter sent video of vicious gusts and swirling snow that hit Chicago's Magnificent Mile.

– Massachusetts state Sen. Jack Hart proposed a solution to all the snow that fell Tuesday – a Boston Snow Party. But many are taking the idea seriously. The city is reportedly seeking permission from the Department of Environmental Protection before any snow is put into Boston Harbor. iReports are flooding in of monster snow around the state. "I'm tired of shoveling!" wrote this snow buried iReporter.

– Though Dallas Forth Worth International Airport is up and running again, there are concerns that the icy weather could hurt how much business vendors do at the Super Bowl this weekend. Snow covered Dallas on Tuesday.

Missouri looks like it won the contest among states for most snow. A reported 18.3 inches fell.

Schools in Tulsa, Oklahoma, are closed after record snowfall hit that area.

Tuesday February 1, 2011

[Update 11 p.m. ET] Blizzard warnings were up Tuesday night in eight states - from Kansas to Ohio. The storm system formed an arc that was centered in the Great Lakes region and stretched from northeastern Kansas in the west to the edge of Chesapeake Bay in the east. The stem of the storm brought needed rain to much of the Southeast, but unwelcome ice and hard freeze warnings in other places, as far south as Corpus Christi, Texas. Parts of the Florida Panhandle, southwestern Georgia and southeastern Alabama were under tornado watches.

[Update 10:20 p.m. ET] At Chicago's Wrigley Field, a panel of the roof above the press box was damaged by the extreme winds accompanying Tuesday night's blizzard, said Peter Chase, Chicago Cubs media relations director. Part of the fiber board panel broke away, and the Cubs are working with the city to ensure there aren't any public safety issues. Police have roped off various streets and sidewalks as a precaution.

[Update 10 p.m. ET] Lake Shore Drive in downtown Chicago is shut down due to blizzard conditions, according to the Chicago Police Department. Get details from CNN affiliate WLS.

[Update 8 p.m. ET] The National Weather Service forecasts and advisories through Wednesday night read like the Abominable Snow Monster's Christmas list: Up to 14 inches of snow in South Bend, Indiana, with winds up to 30 mph; gusts of up to 38 mph in Saginaw, Michigan, with wind chills of 10 below zero the next two nights; as much as 13 inches of new snow in Berlin, New Hampshire, by Wednesday night; hard freeze warnings in Houston and Galveston, Texas. In Illinois, all major thoroughfares from I-70 and further north were covered with - or had patches of - ice and snow, according to the state Department of Transportation.

[Update 7 p.m. ET] Quincy, Massachusetts, a Boston suburb of 92,000 residents, budgeted $750,000 for snow removal this fiscal year. Before this week’s storm it had already spent double that amount, and the city expects it’ll triple its original allotment by the end of the week.   “Snow, you don’t skimp on. You have to do it,” said Chris Walker, director of policy and information for the city.

[Update 5:15 p.m. ET] In Ohio's Miami Valley, freezing rain led to power outages, with about 200 reported before 4 p.m., Dayton Power and Light told CNN affiliate WHIO-TV. With winds forecast to pick up in the evening, the utility was preparing for more. The massive storm was forecast to spawn snow, ice and bitter cold from New Mexico to Maine. Forecasters said as many as 100 million people in the United States will feel its effects.

[Update 4:15 p.m. ET] More than 1,300 flights were canceled at the O'Hare airport in Chicago on Tuesday. Few flights, if any, are expected to operate out of the airport on Wednesday, said Karen Pride, a spokeswoman for the Chicago Department of Aviation. United Airlines, Continental Airlines and American Airlines are suspending operations at the airport after 6 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

[Update 2:50 p.m. ET] Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe has declared a State of Emergency as winter storms hit.

[Update 2:30 p.m. ET] A large tent that was scheduled to shelter partiers Friday and Saturday at Super Bowl XLV has collapsed under the weight of ice and snow, CNN affiliates are reporting.

[Update 2:20 p.m. ET] An ice storm warning was issued in Indianapolis. Roads will become impassable, and widespread, long-duration power outages are likely, officials said.

[Update 2 p.m. ET] The Tulsa, Oklahoma, National Weather Service Forecast Office recorded 12.3 inches of snow accumulation as of noon Central time on Tuesday. That makes this week's storm the largest in Tulsa's history. The largest snow storm occurred in March of 1994 when 12.9 inches of snow fell on the city. Moderate to heavy snow is still falling.

[Update 1:30 p.m. ET] The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety reports numerous vehicles stranded on the Will Rogers Turnpike in northeastern Oklahoma. The National Guard is rescuing people that are stranded in their vehicles on the turnpike, the department said. The turnpike is closed to all traffic.

[Update 1:15 p.m. ET] Dozens of flights for Wednesday are already canceled at Kansas City International Airport. Ice and snow is sweeping across the Plains.

Watch how 100 million people could be affected by the storm.

[Update 12:25 p.m. ET] A partial roof collapse at Hard Rock Casino has occurred near Tulsa, Oklahoma. No injuries have been reported.

– In Northwest Ohio, Interstate 75 is closed due to ice and wrecks.

– The roof of a lumber company has reportedly collapsed in Grand Haven, Michigan.

[Update 11:55 a.m. ET] Chicago is expected to get two feet of snow in the next 24 hours, according to the Chicago Tribune - that's more dire than what was reported earlier Tuesday. The National Weather Service is describing the storm as "potentially life-threatening" for people who venture outdoors. Winds in and near the city could gust up to 60 mph, the NWS says. Power outages are likely. Hundreds of flights at O'Hare airport have been reportedly canceled. The Chicago Weather Center is tracking.

– Several roads and highways in Oklahoma are closed, KOTV reports.

[Update 11:30 a.m. ET] Dallas Fort Worth International Airport has reopened one runway, according to airport spokesman David Magana. The airport has a total of seven runways. It was closed Tuesday at 9:15 a.m. due to ice. Magana says DFW officials are expecting 400 to 500 flight cancellations today. Normal air traffic for DFW is 800 daily flights.

– Wind chills in Omaha, Nebraska, are expected to reach -25 degrees overnight with actual highs only in the single digits on Wednesday, KETV reports.

[Update 11:10 a.m. ET] Detroit officials are saying it could be the worst snow storm to strike since 2005 when 12.2 inches fell. Seven to 12 inches of snow is expected to fall across metro Detroit late Tuesday night and into Wednesday.  The record is 24.5 inches set April 6, 1886. For a comprehensive look at conditions, click here.

– Four states are under a state of emergency and have called in the National Guard. They are  Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas and Illinois.

[10:55 a.m. ET] Four thousand flights have been canceled due to the bad weather. Eight states have active blizzard warnings. In Oklahoma, snow is falling at 2 to 3 inches per hour.

[10:47 a.m. ET] Dallas Cowboys stadium sacked with snow. Road conditions in Dallas are terrible in these few days left before Super Bowl XLV happens at the stadium in Arlington.

[10:40 a.m. ET] Tornado warnings issued for parts of Louisiana.

[Update 10:10 a.m. ET] Sleet is coming down in St. Louis where ice already coats trees, CNN's Reynolds Wolf reports from the Missouri city. Subzero temperatures are expected across the Plains.

New Yorkers are preparing for snow as mounds already piled on Long Island.

– In Mattapan, Massachusetts, transit authorities tried to clear snow.

– Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy has activated the state's emergency operations center.

[9:25 a.m. ET] Ice has closed Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and at least 300 outbound flights were canceled, spokesman David Magana said. Meanwhile, Dallas' Love Field is down to one open runway, according to the FAA.

– Blizzard conditions expected across portions of eight states, from Oklahoma to Michigan. Winds gusting up to 40 mph are predicted.

– Oklahoma is under a state of emergency, and Missouri has mobilized 600 National Guard troops to help cope with the storm.

– Chicago is going to get hit hard, forecasters said. Combined snow totals through Wednesday may exceed a foot and a half across much of northern Illinois and far northwest Indiana, according to the National Weather Service.

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SI.com: It's National Signing Day!
Auburn's Michael Dyer, the 2011 BCS Championship's offensive MVP, was a top recruit last year.
February 2nd, 2011
01:31 PM ET

SI.com: It's National Signing Day!

Groundhog Day isn’t the only holiday being celebrated across the country today.

February 2 also marks National Signing Day, the day when uncommitted high school football stars announce their much-anticipated decisions on where they will play college football. Coaches huddle around fax machines all day eagerly awaiting national letters of intent to come in while rabid fans scour the internet for the first indication their team might have landed a big-time recruit.

Much like the news of whether Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow or not (he did not!), National Signing Day is more of a ritual than anything. It is one of the biggest days on the college football calendar, yet a majority of recruits have already made their college decisions. Prior to Wednesday, only 12 of 247Sports.com’s top 100 recruits from the Class of 2011 had to yet commit, but three of the top five remain undecided, including No. 1 overall prospect Jadeveon Clowney, a defensive end measuring in at 6’5”, 255 pounds.

With announcements rolling in throughout the day, SI.com’s Andy Staples is live blogging the event and providing instant updates and analysis as the decisions come in. Click here to follow the action and check out SI.com all day for more news regarding National Signing Day.

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Wednesday's intriguing people
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh's term ends in 2013. He was last re-elected in 2006.
February 2nd, 2011
10:52 AM ET

Wednesday's intriguing people

Ali Abdullah Saleh

After 32 years in power, Yemen's president announced this morning that he won't seek another term, and he won't install his son to replace him.

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Filed under: District of Columbia • Montana • Most Intriguing People • Politics • U.S. • Yemen
Gotta Watch: Google art view; frozen nation; Conan redux
Google lets you take a virtual tour of famous galleries.
February 2nd, 2011
10:31 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Google art view; frozen nation; Conan redux

Google takes on art – If you can't afford to hop a plane just to stroll the halls of Versailles, then Google's art project may be you. Similar to Google maps, you can now view some of the finest paintings and sculptures on the web But Ayesha Durgahee points out there are some works you just have to see in person.

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On the Radar: Cairo's turn to violence, U.S.'s historic storm, Australia's cyclone
Pro- and anti-Mubarak demonstrators attack each other in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, on Wednesday.
February 2nd, 2011
10:19 AM ET

On the Radar: Cairo's turn to violence, U.S.'s historic storm, Australia's cyclone

Vicious clashes in Egypt  Chaos overtook Tahrir Square in Cairo, which had been peaceful for days as throngs of demonstrators called for the immediate removal of President Hosni Mubarak. This Just In has been keeping track of developments as they happen.  On Wednesday, demonstrators threw rocks and charged each other on camels. Several CNN reporters in Cairo said they could hear gunfire coming from the unruly crowd, which appears to be divided between people who support Mubarak and those who want him gone.

The tide changed shortly after Mubarak announced that he would not seek re-election in September but was going to remain in office. CNN's Ivan Watson tweeted that in Tahrir Square, people are digging up stones to use as weapons. Anderson Cooper and a camera crew were attacked and beaten as they tried to make their way through the crowd, and Hala Gorani was caught in the middle of charging camels. Protesters have been hurling rocks, shoes and pieces of metal and beating each other. The police were nowhere to be seen and the Army seemed to be doing little.  Are you in Egypt? Send an iReport.

Historic snowstorm – A blizzard is hammering the Midwestern United States. Chicago shut down its school system for the first time in 12 years and Milwaukee was getting constant snowfall. But the state getting the most snow at least as of Wednesday morning  was Missouri, which was sacked by 18.3 inches. People across a huge swath of the country are being told to stay at home and not to attempt to travel. Thousands of flights are canceled. Boston's Logan International Airport was closed so runways could be de-iced. The icy weather is making it difficult for Super Bowl fans to get to Texas. Stay tuned to CNN Travel on Twitter for the latest.

Australia cyclone – A tropical cyclone with winds stronger than 140 mph is charging Australia's northeastern coast, which has already been battered by disastrous flooding this year. Cyclone Yasi made landfall Wednesday. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Townsville in Queensland was ripped apart. More than 30 homes were severely damaged and more than 90,000 people in the town of Mission Beach were without power, according to the Herald.

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Filed under: Air travel • Egypt • Illinois • iReport • Missouri • On the Radar • Politics • Security • Travel • Twitter • U.S. • Weather • Winter weather • Wisconsin
Wednesday's live video events
February 2nd, 2011
07:52 AM ET

Wednesday's live video events

Watch CNN.com Live for continuing coverage of the crisis in Egypt.

Today's programming highlights...

Ongoing coverage - Protests in Egypt

8:30 am ET - Clinton addresses conference - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at the first-ever Global Chiefs of Mission Conference in Washington.  She may bring up the situations in Egypt and the Middle East.

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Chicago motorists urged to stay off roads
February 2nd, 2011
02:48 AM ET

Chicago motorists urged to stay off roads

The National Weather Service in Chicago is asking residents not to travel unless "absolutely necessary" because a winter storm pushing through the upper Midwest has created a "potentially life-threatening situation."

"Reports from media and local law enforcement officially indicate that hundreds, if not thousands of vehicles have gone off the roads," the weather service said early Wednesday.

Illinois State Police carried out a rescue operation in Kankakee County after 20 cars were stranded in the snowstorm, where snow drifts were measured around 3 feet, the agency said.

The rescued motorists were taken to temporary warming centers in Manteno or Peotone, said state police Sgt. Angie Kinstner.

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Filed under: U.S. • Winter weather