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Powerful winter storm blankets Great Plains with snow


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In Colorado, the U.S. Forest Service planned to take advantage of the snow to burn piles of dead trees on federal land.

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. Areas in western Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle also had up to 8 inches of snow.

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Elsewhere, Arkansas saw a mix of precipitation — a combination of hail, sleet and freezing rain in some place, 6 inches of snow in others. Forecasters warned northern Arkansas could get a half-inch of ice.

Two fatal accidents were attributed to winter weather on Wednesday. In Oklahoma, 18-year-old Cody Alexander of Alex died when his pickup truck skidded into oncoming traffic and hit a truck. And in Nebraska, 19-year-old Kristina Leigh Anne Allen of Callaway died when a SUV lost control, crossed the median and struck her car.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency Thursday morning. Kansas City International Airport shut down by midmorning; more than 320 flights were canceled at Lambert Airport in St. Louis.

The University of Missouri canceled classes for one of the few times in its 174-year history. At a nearby Wal-Mart, some students passed the ice scrapers and snow melt, heading directly to the aisles containing sleds and alcohol.

"This isn’t our usual Thursday noon routine," Lauren Ottenger, a senior economics major from Denver, said as she stockpiled supplies.

Alex Sosnowski, a meteorologist for Accuweather, said the storm will push off into the Great Lakes and central Appalachians, and freezing rain could make it as far east and south as North Carolina. He also said a "spin-off" storm was expected to create heavy snow in New England on Saturday, and could push Boston to a February record.

Accuweather said that by the time the storm dies out, at least 24 states will be affected.

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Associated Press writers Chris Clark in Kansas City, Mo.; Alan Scher Zagier and Jordan Shapiro in Columbia, Mo.; David A. Lieb in Jefferson City, Mo.; Josh Funk and Nelson Lampe in Omaha, Neb.; John Hanna in Topeka, Kan.; Roxana Hegeman in Wichita, Kan.; Tim Talley in Oklahoma City; David Warren in Dallas; Chuck Bartels in Little Rock, Ark.; Jim Suhr in St. Louis; and Steven K. Paulson in Denver contributed to this report.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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