VIDEO: Central Plains states rocked by deadly blizzard
At least six people have died on U.S. highways while driving in winter weather across the middle parts of the United States. All this just as the holiday travel season is getting started.
Hanukkah has started and Christmas is near, meaning holiday travels are gearing up.
But across the country's midsection, travel has been impaired by a difficult winter storm that's stretching across parts of New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri. It dropped nearly a foot of snow across parts of Kansas and ice and freezing rain are expected to continue for the next several days, marching east.
At least six people have died in weather-related car crashes, two in Colorado and four in New Mexico. Several sections of interstates and other highways have been closed.
Meteorologist Ed Kieser said the wind is what's made this storm particularly challenging, even though it fell in parts of the country are accustomed to heavy snow.
"The wind blowing that snow around on the flat terrain in that part of the country just made driving impossible in many areas," Kieser said. "The good news is the snow has tapered off in those areas, but the wind is still up."
Kieser said the storm system is dissipating as it moves eastward and so in parts of Nebraska and Missouri the situation won't be as bad.
If there's a silver lining to this devastating storm, though, it's the precipitation. Many of the areas that have been socked by snow had been dealing with record-breaking droughts.
Lubbock, Texas, for example, picked up .58 inches of precipitation from this storm system — more than 10 percent of their year-to-date total, 5.63 inches. It's still, however, three inches below the previous record low level of precipitation for a year.
"That record will likely be shattered," Kieser said.
Kieser said people in the northeast and other parts of the country where winter has started off mild should enjoy the good weather while it lasts.
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