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2 dead after more heavy snow in Plains, Midwest

LUBBOCK, Texas -- The nation's midsection again dealt with blizzard conditions yesterday, closing highways, knocking out power to thousands in Texas and Oklahoma and even bringing hurricane-force winds to the Texas Panhandle.

Kansas, already under a deep snowpack from last week's storm, was preparing for another round of heavy snow last evening and overnight, prompting some to wonder what it could do for the drought.

"Is it a drought-buster? Absolutely not," National Weather Service meteorologist Victor Murphy said. "Will it bring short-term improvement? Yes." The storm is being blamed for two deaths yesterday. In northwest Kansas, a 21-year-old man's SUV hit an icy patch on Interstate 70 and overturned. And in the northwest town of Woodward, Okla., heavy snow caused a roof to collapse, killing one inside the home.

Blizzard warnings extended from the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles into south-central Kansas. To the east, lines of thunderstorms crossed Arkansas, Louisiana and Florida, bringing heavy rain and an occasional tornado warning.

As many as 10,000 people lost power in Oklahoma, as did thousands more in Texas.

"I have a gas cooking stove and got the oven going," said Ann Smith, owner of the Standifer House Bed and Breakfast in Elk City, Okla., late yesterday afternoon. Her daughter and grandchildren had come over because they lost power. "If it gets cold tonight, I guess we'll have to put pallets in the kitchen," Smith said with a laugh.

Colorado and New Mexico saw the system first Sunday night, with up to two feet falling in the foothills west of Denver. As it moved into the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles yesterday, the storm ground travel to a halt, closing miles of interstates and state highways.

Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Daniel Hawthorne said about a dozen motorists had to be rescued, but no one was injured. The National Weather Service in Lubbock reported at one point that as many as 100 vehicles were at a standstill on Interstate 27.

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