Snowstorm US: blizzard heads north, but Southwest still digging out

Snowstorm watchers say the snowstorm that hit the southwestern US will lose some steam as it leaves the region, but travel is still difficult in Kansas and the Texas Panhandle.

By , Staff writer

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    Debbie Weber digs out her driveway in Hays, Kan., Tuesday, after a winter storm dumped more than eight inches of snow on the area.
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Key highways reopened across the Southwestern US Tuesday, as a major blizzard moved north after leaving big drifts of snow in its wake.

Traffic resumed on affected portions of Interstates 40 in New Mexico and 70 in Kansas, major east-west arteries in the region. Interstate 25, heading north through New Mexico, was also able to reopen, according to local news reports.

Even as the storm heads north and east, the region didn't get a simple all-clear signal.

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Texas officials still urged drivers to steer clear of the panhandle region, where accumulations Monday reached nearly a foot in some places. 

"We're really discouraging people from traveling, especially west of Amarillo right now," Trooper Lonny Haschel told the Associated Press. "We need roadways clear so crews can get in and take care of this snow and ice."

Parts of Kansas were still under a winter advisory. Drivers faced a potentially hazardous combination of rain, sleet, and freezing temperatures.

But the good news was that a major storm was in wind-down phase. 

The National Weather Service declared travel through the region to be "treacherous" Tuesday, but said the worst of the snows had passed. Driving conditions remained difficult in many areas, after the impassable whiteout swirled through the day before.

One benefit of the storm: It delivers some needed precipitation on a region that has been parched with drought.

More winter weather is on the way, from a big storm poised to descend through the Rocky Mountains to the possibility of a white Christmas in New England.

A snowstorm in the Rockies on Wednesday and Thursday could dump as much as a foot in some places, but less than that in Denver. The Southwest could get a bit more snow later this week.

A white Christmas looks likely in many mountainous areas, from the Rockies to the Sierras and Vermont, according to meteorologists at Weather.com. And it's possible (but far less certain) that some snow could reach major cities like Chicago, Cleveland, and Boston, plus a broad swath of the Appalachian mountain region, Christmas Day.

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