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Published: Monday, 3/25/2013

Spring snowstorm hits central states, pushes east

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Bobby Jones of Bel-Ridge, Mo., near St.Louis, clears the parking lane in front of his North Hanley Road home with his lawn tractor on Sunday, as a new blanket of wintry weather hits the St. Louis region early in Spring. Bobby Jones of Bel-Ridge, Mo., near St.Louis, clears the parking lane in front of his North Hanley Road home with his lawn tractor on Sunday, as a new blanket of wintry weather hits the St. Louis region early in Spring.
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KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — A wide-ranging storm is burying thoughts of springtime weather across a number of Midwestern states under a blanket of snow and slush, leaving in its wake dashed Palm Sunday plans, dozens of canceled flights and treacherous roadways as it churns eastward.

The National Weather Service issued storm warnings and advisories for Sunday and today for as far east as Pennsylvania, and officials were blaming two deaths in separate crashes in Kansas and Missouri on snow-slicked roads.

The system was expected to move into Ohio, bringing between 5 to 9 inches, said Dan Hawblitzel, a weather service meteorologist in suburban Kansas City.

Slick roads were also being blamed for a series of crashes on Interstate 60 north of Indianapolis that sent two people to area hospitals with life-threatening injuries. The Indiana State Police reported late Sunday that two people in a 2012 Subaru were hurt when the driver lost control while coming upon the scene of a previous crash involving a semitrailer. The Subaru hit the tractor-trailer and ended up in a ditch, police said. Authorities said both driver and passenger had life-threatening injuries and were taken to area hospitals. An update on their conditions was not immediately available.

Earlier Sunday night, a jack-knifed semi and subsequent fuel leak required a hazardous materials response outside Indianapolis, officials said. The Fishers Department of Fire and Emergency Services said a tractor-trailer was southbound on Interstate 69 when its driver lost control. No one was injured.

The storm was expected to weaken as it moved into Pennsylvania late Sunday and into today, with totals ranging from 3 to 8 inches. Before it exits off the coast of New Jersey later today, the storm could leave 2 to 4 inches in that state as well as Delaware, northern Maryland and southern New York.

“It's definitely a wide-hitting system,” Hawblitzel said.

To the west, parts of Colorado and northwest Kansas spent Sunday digging out from 10 to 15 inches of snow that were dumped there Saturday. Southwestern Nebraska got up to 7 inches. Winds gusting at speeds of up to 45 mph created snow drifts of 2 to 3 feet in the three states, said Ryan Husted, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Goodland, Kan.

“We have pretty much cleared out. Sunny skies. It's starting to melt a little bit,” Husted said Sunday. Transportation officials reopened several closed highways, including a stretch of Interstate 70 spanning from Denver to Colby, Kan.

The storm dumped 7 to 9 inches of snow from eastern Kansas into central Missouri before tapering off Sunday morning, said Hawblitzel.

Authorities on Sunday also released the names of two people killed in separate crashes. In northeast Kansas, Anthony J. Hinthorne, 40, of Topeka, was killed Saturday afternoon in a single-vehicle crash and rollover on the Kansas Turnpike as snow was falling in Shawnee County, the Kansas Highway Patrol said. Later that night, Joshua J. French, 24, of Naperville, Ill., was killed when he lost control of his vehicle on a wet stretch of Interstate 35 in eastern Missouri's Clay County.

In the central Missouri town of Columbia, TV station KOMU was briefly evacuated Sunday morning because of high winds and a heavy buildup of snow on the broadcast tower next to the building. And Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced he was cancelling a couple events planned for today because of the weather.



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