UPDATE: Large, powerful storm heads east; at least 6 dead

Wednesday, December 26, 2012 | 12:09 p.m. CST; updated 5:47 p.m. CST, Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A powerful winter storm system pounded the nation's midsection Wednesday and headed toward the Northeast, where people braced for the high winds and heavy snow that disrupted holiday travel, knocked out power to thousands of homes and were blamed in at least six deaths.