Drifting snow makes travel tough in Great Plains

Emergency responders assist victims of a multiple-vehicle accident on Interstate 40 about 15 miles west of Amarillo, Texas, on Tuesday after up to 10 inches of snow covered parts of the region.

Associated Press

Emergency responders assist victims of a multiple-vehicle accident on Interstate 40 about 15 miles west of Amarillo, Texas, on Tuesday after up to 10 inches of snow covered parts of the region.

TOPEKA, Kan. — A deadly storm that halted travel throughout the Great Plains weakened Tuesday as it headed east into Missouri and toward the Great Lakes, and officials reopened interstates in areas where motorists had been forced to adjust holiday plans midtrip.

The storm was blamed for at least six deaths, authorities said.

Authorities were reporting snow drifts of up to 10 feet high in southeast Colorado, and Texas officials warned drivers to stay off the road in the Panhandle so crews would have a clear path to remove ice and snow. Major highways in the western half of the Oklahoma Panhandle remained closed.

Still, officials reopened Interstate 40 in the Texas Panhandle and New Mexico, and portions of Interstate 70 in western Kansas that had been closed. New Mexico reopened a closed section of Interstate 25, the main highway from Santa Fe to the Colorado line after crews cleared drifts as high as 5 feet. The storm dumped as much as 15 inches of snow as it hit parts of five states.

"We had ice-covered roads, covered by snow packed on top," said Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Ben Gardner. He said the patrol dealt with dozens of accidents.

Drifting snow makes travel tough in Great Plains 12/20/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 20, 2011 10:16pm]

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