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Kansas City, St. Louis hit by fast-moving snowstorm (+video)

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Cancellations were also reported at Denver International Airport, mostly for flights into Midwest destinations in Kansas and Nebraska, and 90 fights were canceled at Lambert Airport in St. Louis. Legislatures in Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Nebraska, and Iowa all shut down Thursday.

The storm is expected to move eastward late Thursday night and into Friday morning across the Great Lakes region, where snowfall between 3 to 7 inches is expected, the result of weakening gusts as it travels into the Ohio Valley.

Despite hazardous road travel and standstill conditions, farmers and ranchers in scorched plains states are welcoming the storm, saying it will help mitigate an extended dry season that has plagued the region.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center and the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln reported Thursday that over half the US (56 percent) is experiencing drought; hardest hit is the high plains region – Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado – where 82 percent of the area is suffering from severe drought conditions. The US Drought Monitor reported this week that 100 percent of Kansas is engulfed in severe drought or worse.

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