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A plane carrying the Minnesota Vikings football team slid off a runway after landing at a Wisconsin airport Friday amid winter weather that could snarl holiday travel in swaths of the country.
"Cross this one off the bucket list!” Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph tweeted as he and teammate Chad Greenway were removed from the jet in a fire truck basket at Appleton International Airport.
The airport's director said one of the rear landing gears left the runway after they alighted.
Around 3 inches of snow was recorded 30 miles away in Green Bay, the National Weather Service said. But the bulk of the winter weather warnings — including a possible blizzard in the Dakotas by Sunday — were to the west.
Conditions in Spokane, Washington, got so icy overnight that police urged drivers to stay home.
Around 20 vehicles, including a city bus, were involved in a pileup in ice-slicked Spokane, Washington, NBC affiliate KHQ reported. There were no injuries, but one car overturned.
"It’s a mess. Merry Christmas!" said Debby Northrop, who was on her way with her husband to pick up some pizzas when they rounded the corner, came upon the accident and were powerless to stop their sliding vehicle.
Around 1.5 inches of snow was recorded in the city Friday, the weather service said.
Parts of North Dakota could get 18 inches of snow from Christmas to Monday morning and see blizzard-like conditions, the weather service said. Travel will be “impossible” in those areas if blizzard conditions occur, the Weather Channel said.
Blizzard warnings stretched across the western halves of the Dakotas and winter weather advisories were in place for eastern Washington, Montana, Idaho and parts of Wyoming and southern Oregon. As much as 8 inches could fall in parts of Utah, and the wather service warned of "significant travel impacts" beginning Saturday afternoon.
The weather service said a strong low-pressure system sweeping in from the Pacific Northwest is expected to intensify, with the potential to become a "widespread and significant winter storm" across the entire Northern Plains by Sunday.
South of the snow area, ice storms could slick southern Minnesota and central Michigan south into Iowa, with severe thunderstorms stretching all the way south through Texas, forecasters said.
Farther east, snow and rain are forecast from the Great Lakes to the Northeast. Christmas in many parts of Ohio, the Tennessee Valley and the Southeast is expected to be a warm one, with temperatures 15 degrees above normal.