Storm Slows Midwest Commute, Buries Plains in Snow

Drivers get out of their vehicles after a truck is stuck in snow along I-35 in Overland Park, Kan., Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013. Another storm threatens to blanket the region.

Drivers get out of their vehicles after a truck is stuck in snow along I-35 in Overland Park, Kan., Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013. Another storm threatens to blanket the region.

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"We saw today that Kansas City is just shut down. I've never seen a big city like this where nothing is moving," the 27-year-old said.

Others people came down with cabin fever, including Jennifer McCoy of Wichita, Kan. She loaded her nine children — ages 6 months to 16 years — into a van for lunch at Applebee's.

"I was going crazy, they were so whiny," McCoy said.

Heavy, blowing snow caused scores of businesses in Iowa and Nebraska to close early, including two malls in Omaha, Neb. Mardi Miller, manager of Dillard's department store in Oakview Mall, said most employees were gone by 4 p.m., with "only two customers are in the entire store."

The storm brought some relief to a region that has been dealing with its worst drought in decades.

Vance Ehmke, a wheat farmer near Healy, Kan., said the nearly foot of snow was "what we have been praying for." Climatologists say 12 inches of snow is equivalent to about 1 inch of rain, depending on the density of the snow.

Near Edwardsville in Illinois, farmer Mike Campbell called the precipitation a blessing after a bone-dry growing season in 2012. He hopes it is a good omen for the spring, noting that last year, "the corn was just a disaster."

Areas in the Texas Panhandle also had up to 8 inches of snow, and in south central Nebraska, Grand Island reported 10 inches of snow. Arkansas saw a mix of precipitation — a combination of hail, sleet and freezing rain in some place, 6 inches of snow in others.

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Associated Press writers Alan Scher Zagier in Columbia, Mo.; Bill Draper and Margaret Stafford in Kansas City, Mo.; Margery Beck in Omaha, Neb.; John Hanna in Topeka, Kan.; Roxana Hegeman in Wichita, Kan.; Catherine Lucey in Des Moines, Iowa; Tim Talley in Oklahoma City; Chuck Bartels in Little Rock, Ark.; Jim Suhr and Jim Salter in St. Louis; and Erin Gartner and Herbert G. McCann in Chicago contributed to this report.

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