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Blizzard throttles southern Plains

DALLAS – A spring blizzard plodding eastward over the southern Plains shut down major highways Friday and paralyzed the region as residents braced for up to a foot of snow, freezing 45-mph winds and massive snowdrifts.

Schools and government offices were closed, and hundreds of travelers were stranded by the storm, which left some areas under a coat of ice.

The snowfall was expected to be unprecedented for this time of year in Oklahoma, and the National Guard was called out in the Texas Panhandle, where snowdrifts as high as 11 feet and up to a foot of snowfall were predicted before the storm moves on today.

There were several accidents in the area, including jackknifed tractor-trailers, Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Wayne Williams said in Amarillo. Authorities shut down major highways around Dalhart in the northwest corner of the Panhandle.

At least one weather-related traffic death was reported, in Kansas.

The weather service forecast as much as 16 inches of snow in northwest Oklahoma, with about 5 inches predicted in Oklahoma City.


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