Blizzard in Midwest
Written by Faith Anderson on December 23, 2011
Hazardous Conditions Lead to Accidents and Road Closures
From eastern New Mexico to Kansas, hotels filled up quickly along major roadways and nearly 100 rescue calls were placed by motorists in the Texas Panhandle as blizzard conditions led to the closing of part of Interstate-40, a major east-west route, on Monday evening. Approximately ten inches of snow had fallen in western Kansas before dawn today, and the National Weather Service predicts several more inches along with strong winds. “We’re talking about whiteout conditions,” said Marc Russell, of the weather service.
Snowfall Tapers Off But Temperatures in Single Digits Expected
The unexpected snowstorm hit the region Monday, quickly turning roads to ice and reducing visibility to zero. Snowpack and icy conditions forced the closure of major roadways across western and southwestern Kansas, including a section of the I-70, which is the main thoroughfare that crosses the state. “Southwest Kansas is pretty much shut down completely,” said Derek Latham, a dispatcher for the Kansas Highway Patrol in Salina. “I have one trooper who almost went into a ditch this morning, and he came across four other cars that went into a ditch. That was just this morning.” In northern New Mexico, snow and ice shuttered all roads from Raton to the Oklahoma and Texas borders, about 90 miles away. Snowfall tapered off early this morning in the Oklahoma Panhandle, although the weather service warns of blowing snow and sub-zero wind chill temperatures after dark.