KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A treacherous winter storm stretching from Texas through a large swath of the Great Plains brought blustery, blinding snow on Monday to many areas still shoveling out from a winter storm that dumped more than a foot of snow on them last week.
Icy conditions started Sunday evening in the Texas Panhandle and were expected to stretch across Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and into northern Illinois by tonight, causing streets and highways to be closed, and paralyzing response efforts in some hard-hit areas. Two deaths were blamed on the storm.
By Monday afternoon, the National Weather Service had recorded 17 inches of snow in Amarillo, Texas, and emergency response personnel said that winds had gusted to 65 mph.
"(Monday's) event is quickly becoming historic due to its enormity and hazards it's presenting," said Veronica Beyer, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Transportation.
Drivers in North Texas encountered whiteout conditions, keeping many snowplows on the sidelines until visibility improved enough to start clearing the roads.
The authorities instead shifted their priorities almost entirely to locating and rescuing stranded motorists.
"Typically our main objective would be to clear the roadways, but right now the visibility is such that we have actually had to scale back our operations from clearing the roads," Beyer said. "It's just too dangerous."
Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas, as he did before last week's storm, declared another state of emergency, as did Mayor Sly James of Kansas City. Emergencies were declared Monday in 56 Oklahoma counties.
In Texas, Beyer said the storm began around 6 p.m. Sunday, getting worse throughout the night. Drivers were told to stay off the roads. While there were few reports of traffic accidents, Beyer said the main problem was motorists getting stuck.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry issued a statement Monday noting that snow was falling at a rate of 2 to 3 inches per hour. He said the state sent 23 Texas military personnel to the areas of Amarillo, Pampa, Childress and Lubbock to help with rescue efforts.