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Latest snowstorm to blast Midwest leaves at least 3 dead

February 26, 2013|By Michael Muskal

Missouri and Kansas awoke on Tuesday to another major snowstorm, the second in as many weeks, with six additional inches of snow blown by gusting winds into drifts as high as two feet and municipal officials warning motorists to be careful of treacherous roads.

At least three deaths have been reported since the current storm began to blow its way from Texas through Oklahoma and into the Midwest on Monday. The National Weather Service predicted continuing, though lessening, snowfall as the storm heads into the Great Lakes region by nightfall.

“Moderate to heavy snow will continue to fall across the central Plains during the day on Tuesday, moving into the southern Great Lakes by the evening. Freezing rain is possible in north-central Illinois, northern Indiana and northwestern Ohio, as well as across the Appalachians. Meanwhile, severe thunderstorms are possible from southeastern North Carolina to central Florida,” the weather service said.

Perhaps as many as 80,000 customers lost power for some period of time as transmission lines sagged, then fell from the weight of wet snow in Missouri, Kansas and western Oklahoma. Utility crews were struggling to repair downed lines.

A second state of emergency was declared in Kansas City by Mayor Sly James. Schools and many state offices were shuttered.

“The City requests that residents minimize travel during this weather event in order to allow snow removal crews and emergency responders greater ability to perform duties,” James said in his declaration, coming just days after a storm dumped as much as a foot of snow on his city.

“The City’s Emergency Operations Center will be activated at a level two, and personnel representing key City departments, as well as KCP&L, will be present and working together to monitor the event and coordinate activities among City departments providing snow and ice removal and emergency responders from the Police and Fire departments” James said.

On Twitter, the mayor constantly reassured residents as well as using the social media channel to receive complaints and to redirect resources.

The storm, fueled by a low pressure area, brought warning and advisories across the nation’s midsection. The reported deaths, all on Monday included an SUV accident in northwestern Kansas and another crash in western Kansas on Interstate-70. The third death was in Oklahoma, where a person died when a roof collapsed in Woodward.

The worst conditions were reported in the Texas Panhandle on Monday, where heavy winds and snows created whiteout conditions. Amarillo, Texas reported 17 inches of snow. About 100 vehicles were reported stranded near Lubbock, Texas.

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