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Major Storm Blankets Plains States


A lot of kids have the day off from school today, thanks to a huge winter storm in the Midwest. A foot of snow fell on Kansas City, one of the worst storms in the city's history. That city declared a state of emergency, as did several others in the region. Frank Morris, of member station KCUR, reports.

FRANK MORRIS, BYLINE: The storm hit hard right before morning rush hour with wind, muffled thunder and lightning diffused through a sky that seemed almost saturated with snow. By midmorning, thick, white streaks ensnared hundreds of vehicles.


MORRIS: In parts of Kansas City, stuck cars, trucks and buses rendered the streets impassable to snowplows.

SETH JONES: Oh, man, it's rough out here.


MORRIS: Seth Jones had to step down from his big, orange dump truck - with a huge blade out front - to push cars by hand.

JONES: 'Cause I can't get through - 'cause a bus in the way, because cars in the way.

MORRIS: The storm triggered dozens and dozens of accidents in Iowa and Nebraska, Oklahoma and Missouri; and shut down a 200-mile stretch of I-70. School districts across the Plains called off classes. All kinds of companies, stores and restaurants closed up, too. Jimmy Jackson leaned into the wind, plodding up a street littered with vehicles, the smell of burning clutches in the air. Jackson had started his futile commute two hours earlier.

JIMMY JACKSON: I went to work. They - was closed, so I'm on my way back to the house now. I was gonna ride the bus, but the buses can't make it nowhere, neither.

MORRIS: The storm rendered airplanes even more useless than buses. Airports canceled more than 500 commercial flights in Kansas City and St. Louis alone. But not everyone was suffering.


MORRIS: Eric Neal(ph) runs a dairy farm south of Kansas City.

NEAL: Yeah. I'm pretty happy about this. You know, it's a booger to work in; it sure is.

MORRIS: No snow day for Neal. It's his busiest time of year, with 80 calves due to be born this week. A foot of snow doesn't make that work any easier, but for Neal, it sure beats the drought that baked his pastures last summer.

NEAL: I mean, I couldn't grow anything. There was nothing there. And now, I got all this snow that's gonna melt and make some really tasty grass next year.

MORRIS: That's taking the long view. For now, the Plains are seriously socked in. The snow kept coming last night, and more is in the forecast. For NPR News, I'm Frank Morris in Kansas City.



Whether you're snowed in or moving about on this Friday morning, we're glad you've joined us on your public radio station. You can continue following us throughout the day on social media. You can find us on Facebook. You can also find this program on Twitter, among other places, @MorningEdition and @NPRInskeep. It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Frank Morris
Frank Morris has supervised the reporters in KCUR's newsroom since 1999. In addition to his managerial duties, Morris files regularly with National Public Radio. He’s covered everything from tornadoes to tax law for the network, in stories spanning eight states. His work has won dozens of awards, including four national Public Radio News Directors awards (PRNDIs) and several regional Edward R. Murrow awards. In 2012 he was honored to be named "Journalist of the Year" by the Heart of America Press Club.