With winter storm warnings and advisories being issued from western New Mexico to southwestern Virginia, officials fear they could be facing the worst storm to hit the central US since a massive system covered much of the country two years ago, reports the USA Today. Already, 8 inches of snow has fallen in Colorado and Kansas, and more than a foot could be coming today to some areas in Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas—not to mention possible hail and tornadoes in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
More than 176 flights have been canceled at Kansas City International Airport alone, with scores more from Dallas to Minneapolis. Even the World Golf Championship Match Play tournament near Tucson was suspended because of the snow. But it's not all bad news—the heavy snows today, along with a second storm expected to hit Monday, are going to bring the equivalent of an inch of rain to some drought-hit parts of the country. Granted, an inch will only "dent" the drought, not end it, but "the economic value of the rain and snow from the two storms is in the billions of dollars," writes Jeff Masters at the Weather Underground. Runoff will help barge traffic in the Mississippi, too. (Read more snow stories.)