Great Plains storm tapers off, but holiday travel could be rough
The fierce winter storm sweeping across the Great Plains on Tuesday, wreaking havoc on highways and causing at least six deaths, is tapering off. But transportation is still wretched, and holiday travelers this week should plan on a few bumps, according to experts.
Travel will be "an issue" in the aftermath of the area's first big blizzard of the season, according to AccuWeather. Meteorologists at the website saw the possibility of weather-related travel problems continuing for hundreds of thousands of people at major transportation hubs, including Denver, Atlanta and New York City.
A winter storm warning was canceled for parts of Kansas as of 1:34 p.m. CST, said the National Weather Service, although a winter weather advisory remained in effect for some parts of that state and Oklahoma through 6 p.m. CST.
Early Tuesday, snow and rain were pushing through the heart of the U.S., according to AccuWeather. Colorado received 15 inches of snow; New Mexico, 12; and the storm reached into Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle and parts of Kansas.
Major highways were closed during the worst of the storm, but officials have since reopened portions of several interstates, according to the Associated Press. Around noon CST, Interstate 70 in Kansas and the I-40 in the Texas Panhandle and New Mexico reopened, the AP reported.
Meteorologist Tim Burke in Kansas told the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday morning that several more inches of snow were expected, but that the storm had lost "a lot of its uplift, which produces snow, and a lot of its moisture has already fallen out of it in the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles."
A fresh snowstorm in Denver, forecast for Thursday, could bring 3 inches of snow, reported AccuWeather senior meteorologist Brian Wimer, which could mean reduced visibility at Denver International Airport and possible flight delays.
Delays also are anticipated Friday for New York City as clouds and strong winds are predicted. And AccuWeather meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said a weather front "loaded with moisture" will bring showers and thunderstorms to the South this week.
That's bad news for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Possible poor visibility with the rain could lead to delays at the world's busiest airport at one of the busiest times of year for airlines, Sosnowski said.
-- Amy Hubbard+
Photo: Traffic is stopped on Interstate 40 outside Amarillo, Texas, on Tuesday after a severe winter storm hit the area. Credit: Michael Norris / Amarillo Globe-News / Associated Press