A large winter storm is tracking across the Great Plains Thursday. It has been cited in one road fatality in Oklahoma overnight.
Parts of the nation's heartland awoke Thursday to more than half a foot of snow, as a large storm made its way eastward out of the Rockies, snarling traffic for morning commuters and allowing an army of children to trade pen and paper for shovel and sled, at least for a day.
Winter storm warnings were issued from Colorado through Illinois, and many school districts cancelled classes ahead of time, in anticipation of the more than a foot of snow expected to fall in some places.
Kelly Sugden, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Dodge City, Kan., said early Thursday that the storm that had already dumped heavy snow on Colorado and western Kansas on Wednesday was moving a bit slower than first expected, but was "starting to get back together."
"It's very active," Sugden said, noting the snowfall was mixed with lightning and sleet showers.
Kansas' capital, Topeka, had little more than a dusting of snow after dawn, but in the town of Rozel, roughly 210 miles west, 6½ inches had already reported fallen.
Sugden said that while forecasters weren't expecting blizzard conditions to develop in Kansas, the Interstate 70 corridor could get as much as 13 inches of snow, and large drifts would make driving very dangerous.
In Oklahoma on Wednesday, roads were covered with a slushy mix of snow and ice that officials said caused a crash that killed an 18-year-old driver, Cody Alexander.
Alexander, of Alex, Okla., skidded in his pickup truck into oncoming traffic on State Highway 19 and was hit by a truck and killed, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said. The other driver wasn't seriously injured.