Major snowstorm lashes Great Plains, heads east
US-USA-SNOWSTORM:Major snowstorm lashes Great Plains, heads east
Kansas City, Missouri (Reuters) - A major winter storm pounded the Great Plains on Thursday as it headed east from the Rocky Mountains, dumping 10 inches of snow on Kansas after blanketing parts of Arizona.
Winter storm warnings and advisories were in place for much of the central and southern Plains and into the upper Midwest and Mississippi River valley as the storm moved east, packing snow, sleet and freezing rain, the National Weather Service said.
Ice storm warnings were in effect for parts of northern Arkansas. The massive storm was expected to spawn thunderstorms and rain on its southern edge from eastern Texas to Georgia, the forecaster said.
Winds from the storm gusted as high as 74 miles an hour (119 km per hour) at San Augustin Pass in New Mexico and 72 mph at El Paso, Texas.
Accuweather, another forecaster, said 10 inches of snow were reported at the Wichita, Kansas, airport by 6 a.m. CST (1200 GMT). Twelve inches would tie for the city's fifth-biggest snowfall, it said.
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback ordered state offices closed on Thursday because of the storm.
The snow also meant relief for drought-stricken regions of the Great Plains, one of the world's biggest wheat-growing areas.
Snow from the powerful storm fell as far south as Tucson, Arizona, on Wednesday and snarled evening rush-hour traffic in Denver. The rare snowfall halted play at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play tournament near Tucson.
Between 4 inches and 12 inches of snow were possible in Iowa and northern Missouri as the snowstorm moved to the east, the National Weather Service said.
Boston faced significant snowfall for the third weekend in a row, potentially making it the snowiest February in the city's history, the National Weather Service warned on Thursday.
After recording 25.5 inches two weekends ago and more than 5 inches last weekend, the service forecast a "high probability for a strong coastal storm" on Saturday night into Sunday for the city and the region. Another 10 inches would set a record for the month.
At least one local television network forecast 5 inches to 10 inches of heavy, wet snow for the city from the storm, with higher totals to the north.
(Reporting by Ian Simpson and Ben Berkowitz; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)