Massive Storm Belting Midwest Has Silver Lining

It will ease the drought in hard-hit parts of the country: Weather Underground

By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 21, 2013 12:17 PM CST

(Newser) – 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.

A pedestrian walks along the sidewalk in Kansas City, Mo., Thursday.   (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
Drivers get out of their vehicles after a ramp is blocked by a truck stuck in snow along I-35 in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park.   (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
Ray Hughes pulls his grandson, Grant McMillen, 3, down an alley during a snow storm, yesterday in Salina, Kan.   (AP Photo/The Salina Journal, Tom Dorsey)
Erick Montano uses the back edge of a rake to clear snow off the 10th tee for the Match Play Championship golf tournament, today in Marana, Ariz.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
This NOAA satellite image taken this morning at 1:45 a.m. EST shows an upper level low pressure affecting the Great Lakes and Northeast.   (AP PHOTO/WEATHER UNDERGROUND)
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