Snowstorms spilled down from the Rockies and across portions of the Great Plains on Friday, bringing Kansas its first major wintry blast of the season and dumping up to four inches of snow.
Snow fell over southeastern South Dakota, much of Nebraska, eastern Colorado, the western two-thirds of Kansas and north-central Oklahoma. Oklahoma City reported mixed sleet and rain.
The storms also spread snow through much of Wyoming, New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle, the National Weather Service reported.
The Kansas Highway Patrol reported that roads in much of the western part of the state were snowpacked and the weather service warned of hazardous driving.
Up to 2 Feet in Colorado
As much as two feet of snow was left behind in Colorado by the same storm system, which choked Thanksgiving Day air traffic at Denver's Stapleton International Airport.
Winter storm warnings were posted for the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles, where four to eight inches of snow was expected.
Snow and freezing drizzle hit much of Nebraska on Friday, making roads slippery and leaving snow accumulations of up to 1 1/2 inches.
Digging Out in the East
As the western system slowly widened its path, the Northeast dug out after storms dumped as much as 16 inches of snow in Vermont, snapping power lines and darkening some 2,200 homes on Thanksgiving.
Bolstered by fresh snow, four more Vermont ski areas Friday joined the seven open on Thanksgiving, including Jay Peak in northern Vermont, where 14 inches of snow fell.
Temperatures around the nation Friday afternoon ranged from 18 degrees at Laramie, Wyo., to 83 in Fort Myers, Fla. The low for the nation Friday morning was two degrees below zero at West Yellowstone, Mont.
Long-Range Forecast Issued
Meanwhile, the top U.S. long-range weather forecaster said Friday that the Midwest and the Deep South are likely to be slightly colder than usual this winter but that it should be unseasonably mild in the Southwest.
A stormy, wet zone should extend along the East Coast, bringing lots of rain and perhaps snow, said Donald Gilman of the weather service.
Among the long-range predictions: The chance of warmer than usual temperatures in Southern California is 65%. Gilman said there is at least a 55% chance of less than usual amounts of precipitation from California eastward to the southern Rockies and Great Plains and the lower Missouri Valley. The chance of drier-than-usual weather is 60% in southern Nevada, northern Arizona, Oklahoma, Missouri and the adjacent parts of Kansas and Texas, he said.
The forecast is based on statistical indicators and on such clues as upper-level pressures. Last year's forecast came close to the mark, officials said.