A White Christmas and Then Some: Blizzard Halts Travel Across Great Plains

December 20, 2011 - 5:30 AM
APTOPIX Winter Storm

Northbound traffic on I-25 approaches Santa Fe, N.M. in a single file as snow accumulates on the road, Monday Dec. 19, 2011 as a winter storm hit the area. New Mexico state police say a winter storm is shutting highways and causing difficult driving across northern New Mexico. Los Alamos National Laboratory and a number of schools have closed as the storm moves across New Mexico and into the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles and parts of Kansas and Colorado. (AP Photo/The Albuquerque Journal, Dean Hanson)

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Forecasters are warning that pre-holiday travel could be nearly impossible in the Great Plains as heavy snow and fierce winds crawl deeper into the region.

The National Weather Service said Tuesday that about 10 inches of snow had fallen before dawn in western Kansas, and several more inches are expected as the storm continues east.

The storm has shuttered highways and filled hotels from northern New Mexico to Kansas, and the conditions are being blamed for at least six deaths. Two people died in an accident Monday along an icy road in eastern Colorado, while four people were killed in a head-on crash in New Mexico.

And nearly 100 rescue calls came in from motorists in the Texas Panhandle as blizzard-like conditions forced closed part of Interstate 40 late Monday.