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High turnout expected as Ohio voters brave wintry weather

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: Ohio official predicts record voter turnout despite bad weather
  • Three polling places in eastern Ohio County relocated due to flooding
  • Clear weather expected in Texas; snow for Vermont, rain for Rhode Island
  • Reported tornado hits barracks in southern Mississippi, injuring 14 guardsmen
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (CNN) -- Despite freezing rain and bad weather, 52 percent of registered voters might be going to the polls in Ohio -- 15 percent higher than the average of past presidential primaries, Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner estimated.

Three polling stations in Jefferson County in eastern Ohio were relocated Tuesday because of flooding that could have prevented people from voting, election officials said.

County residents unable to get to their designated polling places because of bad weather were given the option of casting provisional ballots Tuesday in Steubenville, the county seat, at the offices of the Board of Elections, officials said.

The board has to verify those ballots by March 25.

Freezing rain glazed roads in northern Ohio throughout much of the day, including the cities of Cleveland and Dayton, weather forecasters said.

The northwest corner of Ohio was under a winter storm warning, with a combination of rain, sleet and snow, but less than an inch of accumulation is expected, CNN meteorologist Reynolds Wolf said.

"If you happen to be a diehard politico, if you've really got a candidate that you're going to support, nothing is going to stop you from getting to the polls," Wolf said. "However, if you are looking for an excuse, these scattered snowflakes may be the perfect excuse for you not to go."

Clear weather was expected in most of Texas, although there was a possibility of icy roads Tuesday morning in the extreme northeast corner of the state, according to the National Weather Service.

Northern Vermont was under a winter storm warning, with a wintry mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain expected from late Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday, the weather service said.

Heavy rain was in the forecast for Rhode Island, but it wasn't expected to start until late Tuesday after the polls have closed.

Elsewhere, stormy weather moved through the South Monday night and Tuesday. A possible tornado touched down late Monday in southern Mississippi, slashing through a National Guard barracks and injuring 14 guardsmen, according to a sheriff and a military spokesman.

Lt. Col. Doril Sanders, a spokesman for Camp Shelby, said severe weather hit the facility around 11:25 p.m.

The barracks housed guardsmen from Mena, Arkansas, who are training at Shelby.

They were taken to Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg with injuries that aren't life-threatening, Sanders said.

The Forrest County Sheriff's Department said a tornado was reported, with the most significant damage at the camp, a Joint Forces Training Center about 75 miles northwest of Mobile, Alabama.

The National Weather Service received two reports of tornadoes Monday in Mississippi, and numerous reports of hail and damage from high winds in a swath from eastern Texas to Alabama, according to the weather service's Web site.

The service issued a tornado watch until 7 p.m. ET Tuesday for most of Georgia and parts of North and South Carolina and Tennessee.

The weather service predicted severe thunderstorms in parts of the Southeast Tuesday night, with possible tornadoes and damaging winds in the Carolinas. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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