Severe rain and thunderstorms pounded the Plains today, and snow fell in parts of South Dakota. Rain threatened in the Southeast.

Showers and thunderstorms were predicted from the western Great Lakes to the Dakotas and south into the Mississippi Valley and Plains. The heaviest rainfall was expected in parts of Missouri, Iowa and Illinois.

Large hail, gusty winds and heavy rainfall were possible, but the storms were not expected to be as bad as powerful ones Sunday, when severe storms caused flooding in Kansas City, Mo., and led to at least five deaths. Three others were missing.

In Oklahoma, tornadoes touched down and caused several injuries.

In South Dakota, the first big snowfall of the year Sunday and into today closed schools, downed power lines and forced some drivers into the ditch. Up to a foot of snow was forecast in the northern Black Hills.

``It's very snowpacked and slippery. ... It's just been nuts. I have vehicles in the ditches all over the place,'' said Sue Black, a dispatcher with the Lawrence County Sheriff's Office in Deadwood.

Elsewhere, clear to partly cloudy skies and dry weather were expected from northern New England to the eastern Great Lakes. Dry weather was also likely across the mid-Atlantic states. Areas of rain and thunderstorms were possible over parts of the Southeast.

Most areas of the West were expected to remain dry. Clear to partly cloudy skies were predicted from the Pacific Northwest south into California. Most areas of the Rockies were also expected to remain dry. A few leftover showers from the system in the Plains might occur in parts of eastern Montana and Wyoming.

Today's high temperatures should be in the 40s in the Dakotas, Wyoming and Colorado; the 50s in the upper Midwest and the northern Plains; the 60s and 70s in the mid-Atlantic, most of the Midwest and Pacific Northwest; 80s in the Southeast and Southwest; and 90s in southern Texas.

The hottest spot in the nation Sunday was Waco, Texas, where it was 96. The low of 21 was in Cut Bank, Mont.