Blizzard Pounds Great Plains, Northeast May See White Christmas

Dec 20, 2011
Originally published on December 20, 2011 7:34 am

Stranded motorists. Closed highways. Packed hotels.

It's winter and the Great Plains has gotten walloped:

"From northern New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle through Oklahoma and northwestern Kansas," The Associated Press writes, "blizzard conditions [on Monday and into today] put state road crews on alert and had motorists taking refuge and early exits off major roads."

Some reports from the stricken states:

-- "Blizzard conditions shut down most towns in Southeastern Colorado," The Pueblo Chieftain reports. Snow was "piling up and 51-mph winds [were] blowing."

-- "The Colorado Department of Transportation says southbound Interstate 25 is closed from Pueblo into New Mexico due to the weather conditions," Denver's KUSA-TV reports.

-- In New Mexico, "major road closures hit Monday evening when authorities shut down Interstate 25 north of Santa Fe all the way to Raton," Albuquerque's KOAT-TV says. "Interstate 40 was also shut down from Moriarty west to the Texas border."

-- In Oklahoma, "the National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for the Panhandle and forecasters said up to 16 inches of precipitation could fall before the storm departs Tuesday," according to The Oklahoman.

-- Also in Oklahoma, "we shut down U.S. 56 westbound out of Boise City due to blizzard conditions and for humanitarian reasons," Oklahoma Highway Patrol dispatcher Pat Barton told The Norman Transcript. " 'They have no hotel rooms or shelter spaces all the way Clayton, (N.M.),' about 45 miles to the southwest, Barton said."

Meanwhile, The Weather Channel also reports that if you're hoping for a white Christmas, "Mother Nature may have a Christmas present for those hungry for snow in parts of the Northeast and Midwest."

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