Saturday, March 28, 2009

Road Sadness

Snow and winds still forecast for Texas Panhandle


Associated Press

Blizzard warnings in effect until Saturday afternoon for parts of the Texas Panhandle have stranded people indoors and left highways closed.

Forecasts predict the northeastern part of the Panhandle to be the most affected Saturday morning, with spots of blowing snow and winds of up to 30 mph. The warning includes the cities of Canadian, Pampa, Clarendon, Miami, Follett, Perry, Booker and Higgins, according to the National Weather Service.

Northbound lanes of U.S. Highways 287 and 87 and east and westbound lanes of Interstate 40 to Amarillo remain closed through at least Saturday afternoon, the Department of Public Safety said. Crews have been plowing the areas.

A spring blizzard slammed into the Texas Panhandle, causing numerous accidents, shutting down major highways and paralyzing the region. It's part of a storm system that moved into the region late Thursday and has raged all over the Southern High Plains, including eastern New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas and Oklahoma.

The National Weather Service is predicting snowfall in Texas of up to a foot and winds gusting to more than 45 mph that could lead to zero visibility and snowdrifts of up to 11 feet before the storm wanes near midday Saturday. The worst of the eastward bound storm should be in Oklahoma later Saturday.

A blizzard doesn't have to have heavy snowfall, said weather service meteorologist J.J. Brost in Amarillo. But that snow must be combined with sustained winds or gusts of at least 35 mph that limit visibility to a quarter-mile or less.



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