Spring Snow Storm Buries Plains, Midwest
By ASHLEY M. HEHER, Associated Press Writer
The spring snow storm that buried parts of Nebraska under more than 2
feet of snow swept through the Ohio Valley on Tuesday, shutting down
schools and making travel tough for voters headed for the polls for
the Illinois' primary election.
As much as two inches of snow an hour fell in some areas of Illinois
and Indiana, and wind gusted to 40 mph, weather officials said.
"Our weather's terrible. The highways are terrible. It's not the
highway department's fault, they just can't keep up with it," said
Morgan County, Ill., Sheriff's Deputy Trevor Lahey. He answered more
than 50 calls Tuesday morning about cars in ditches west of
In Colorado, Interstate 70 reopened early Tuesday after its eastbound
lanes between Denver and the Kansas line were shut down for nearly 18
hours because of heavy snow. Interstate 80 remained closed across
central Nebraska but was expected to reopen during the day.
The storm dumped as much as 28 inches of snow on central Nebraska on
Monday, 20 inches in parts of South Dakota and half a foot in the
Oklahoma Panhandle. Wind piled the snow into drifts 7 feet high in
parts of South Dakota and Nebraska. Farther south, heavy rain caused
flooding in the Dallas area.
By midmorning Tuesday, more than 7 inches of snow had fallen on parts
of western Indiana, and wind up to 25 mph created whiteout conditions
in some areas, the National Weather Service said.
Indiana State Police reported dozens of accidents. School districts
across central Illinois and western and central Indiana closed for the
The weather was expected to contribute to low voter turnout for
Illinois' primary election, which includes gubernatorial and
It hit after an unseasonably warm winter in which snowfall was 30
percent to 50 percent below normal in Indiana. Through mid-March,
Indianapolis had used only about two-thirds of its $4.6 million
snow-removal budget, officials said.
Indiana state climatologist Dev Niyogi said the erratic weather will
likely continue, in part because of the impact of La Nina, the mild
cooling of the tropical Pacific Ocean that often coincides with
stronger and more frequent hurricanes, a wetter Pacific Northwest and
a drier South.
"I think the important feature of the upcoming season is not just
going to be a really cold or really warm season ahead, but the swings
we are going have," he said. "Some days will really feel like winter
again and some days we'll start thinking that maybe that summer is
Schools also remained closed for a second day Tuesday in parts of the
Plains states. The Nebraska Legislature canceled its Tuesday meeting,
and the South Dakota Legislature rescheduled Monday's meetings.
At least five deaths were blamed on the storm in Colorado, Nebraska
Copyright 2006 The Associated Press.
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