Snow­storm:

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Colleen Slevin

A storm that has dumped more than a foot of snow in the Rocky Moun­tains could cause headaches for trav­el­ers as it tracks into the Mid­west and Great Lakes re­gion.

DEN­VER — A storm that has dumped more than a foot of snow in the Rocky Moun­tains could cause headaches for trav­el­ers as it tracks into the Mid­west and Great Lakes re­gion.

Drivers in Iowa and Ne­braska were warned to be care­ful or stop driv­ing all to­gether start­ing Wed­nes­day evening as the first ma­jor win­ter storm of the sea­son heads into the cen­tral Plains from the Rock­ies. Strong winds are ex­pected to cre­ate bl­iz­zard con­di­tions.

Light snow is also ex­pected at Chicago’s O’Hare In­ter­na­tional Air­port Thurs­day, and strong winds could make vis­i­bil­ity poor. That com­bined with low clouds could cause de­lays at the na­tion’s sec­ond-busiest air­port, Na­tional Weather Ser­vice fore­caster Jamie En­derlen said.

Iowa of­fi­cials ad­vised drivers to avoid most roads from Wed­nes­day night through noon Thurs­day, but na­tive Lau­rie Harry, a man­ager at a Casey’s Gen­eral Store, ex­pected to drive to work this morn­ing.

“If I need to get into work, I’ll be here,” she said. “We’ve had snow be­fore. Iowans know what to ex­pect. We’re used to it.”

The snow had moved out of Den­ver by mid­day Wed­nes­day, but much of the east­ern half of Colorado re­mained un­der a bl­iz­zard warn­ing. Wind gusts were blow­ing snow around, low­er­ing vis­i­bil­ity, but in­ter­states there re­mained open.

Den­ver’s air­port, the na­tion’s fifth-busiest, re­ported de­lays av­er­ag­ing 30 min­utes be­cause of snow and ice Wed­nes­day.

The snow is a gift for ski re­sorts in Colorado, Utah and Ari­zona right be­fore the busy hol­i­day week. The snow might also tempt back­coun­try skiers, but the it also prompted some avalanche warn­ings in Colorado and Utah.

The mois­ture is also a re­lief af­ter an ex­tended wild­fire sea­son in Colorado. Drought con­di­tions per­sist es­pe­cially in the mainly agri­cul­tural east­ern half of the state.

Farmer Fred Mid­cap wel­comed the snow even though 25 mph winds were blow­ing some of it away from his land near Hud­son in north­east­ern Colorado.

“The snowflakes are mostly go­ing side­ways,” he said.

Mid­cap doesn’t plow his land to help im­prove the soil and said the stub­ble left­over from this year’s weak mil­let crop will help hold some of the snow in place, hopefully set­ting up for a bet­ter grow­ing sea­son next year. If the snow keeps coming, it will also pro­vide some wel­come in­su­la­tion to his win­ter wheat crop be­fore the cold­est weather of the sea­son.

In Ari­zona, two re­cent storms had com­bined to blan­ket the moun­tains north of Flagstaff with 2 feet of snow, and about 20 inches in Flagstaff and along the Mo­gol­lon Rim.

BREN­NAN LINS­LEY / AP

Stu­dents in Boul­der, Colo., some es­corted by par­ents, cross a snowy street en route to school Wed­nes­day as a bl­iz­zard dumps more than a foot of snow.

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