A blizzard dumped mountains of swirling snow across parts of Texas and Oklahoma on Monday, then turned toward Kansas and other parts of the Midwest still reeling from a major storm last week.
Blizzard warnings and watches were posted for parts of Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma through Monday evening as high winds blew large accumulations of snow in a wide band through the Southwest and Midwest.
The National Weather Service also warned of fierce thunderstorms along the Gulf Coast.
"A winter storm will bring a variety of hazards to parts of the central & southern U.S. on Monday," the weather service warned on its website. "Heavy snow is possible from the Mid-Mississippi Valley to the southern Plains, with blizzard conditions possible for some locations. Parts of central Okla., Kan. & western Mo. could see more than a foot of snow through Tuesday. Severe thunderstorms are possible on Monday across much of the Gulf Coast."
The weather service also advised that the storm was heading toward areas hard hit last week.
"Winter storm warnings, and winter weather advisories are in effect from eastern New Mexico, across the Texas panhandle, the northern half of Oklahoma and the majority of Kansas. Winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories continue to extend northward across parts of the Midwest into the Lower Great Lakes," it said.
Snow covered Amarillo, Texas, where forecasters were predicting accumulations of up to 18 inches with winds that could reach 65 mph. State officials called in the National Guard to respond to emergencies, especially stranded motorists, in the Panhandle, where whiteout conditions were reported in some areas.
"As this blizzard makes its way through the panhandle and conditions warrant, we will continue to push state resources to the area to assist impacted communities," Gov. Rick Perry said in a prepared statement emailed to reporters. "Visibility in many places is quickly deteriorating, and I urge all Texans in the storm's path to remain vigilant and heed warnings from local officials. As always, Texas is thankful for the brave men and women who stand ready to respond to events that place their fellow Texans in harm's way."
In Oklahoma, forecasters predicted up to 16 inches of snow. Some highways in that state's Panhandle were closed because of slick roads.
In Wichita, Kan., residents were barely recovering from last week's storm, which dumped up to 18 inches of snow, before they had to begin preparing for another round.
Gov. Sam Brownback said Sunday that state offices in the western parts of the state will be closed through at least 6 a.m. Thursday. The governor also extended the state of emergency he declared after the first storm hit.
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