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Winter storm blankets Great Plains with snow

By The Associated Press

This article was originally published February 21, 2013 at 7:39 a.m. Updated February 21, 2013 at 9:38 a.m.

Much of the nation’s heartland awoke Thursday to heavy snow, treacherous roads and a day off from work or school as a large, potentially dangerous winter storm pushed eastward out of the Rockies.

Winter storm warnings were issued from eastern Colorado through Illinois. More than a foot of snow was expected in some places; a slippery mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain in others. Schools canceled classes, sporting events had to reschedule and even lawmakers were staying home. Hundreds of flights were cancelled.

Kelly Sugden, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Dodge City, Kan., said early Thursday that the storm, which had been moving slower than expected, clipped Colorado and western Kansas on Wednesday and was “starting to get back together.”

“It’s very active,” Sugden said, noting the snowfall in some places was mixed with lightning and sleet showers. On Thursday morning, Kansas City, Mo., experienced rare “thundersnow” — heavy snowfall accompanied by occasional thunder.

Sugden said forecasters weren’t expecting blizzard conditions to develop in Kansas, but the Interstate 70 corridor could get as much as 13 inches of snow, and large drifts would make for treacherous driving conditions.

Near the Nebraska-Kansas border, as much as 8 inches fell overnight, while western Nebraska saw about half of that amount, National Weather Service forecaster Shawn Jacobs said Thursday.

Some parts of Oklahoma also had up to 8 inches of snow by Thursday morning, and the weather caused a fatal wreck Wednesday.

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