ST. LOUIS (AP) — The winter storm that's moved into the nation's midsection is bringing blinding snow -- sometimes accompanied by thunder and lightning.
The storm is causing whiteout conditions, and leaving major roadways nearly impassable. Schools and state legislatures have been shut down.
Wichita, Kansas, is buried under more than a foot of snow, and it's still coming down. Winter storm warnings extend from eastern Colorado through Illinois.
Freezing rain and sleet are in the forecast for southern Missouri, southern Illinois and Arkansas. And St. Louis is expected to see a mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain.
Several accidents are blamed on icy roadways, including a wreck in Oklahoma that killed a teenager yesterday.
Kansas City's airport had to shut down this morning because of heavy snowfall. Dozens of flights have been canceled in St. Louis.
Transportation officials in Kansas are urging people to stay home. Major highways are snow-packed and icy, and have poor visibility.
164-a-07-(Tamara (TAM'-uh-ruh) Owens, Joplin resident, in AP interview)-"and thundering, lightning"-Joplin resident Tamara Owens says she's looking at 'thundersnow' this morning. (21 Feb 2013)
<<CUT *164 (02/21/13)>> 00:07 "and thundering, lightning"
165-a-07-(Tamara (TAM'-uh-ruh) Owens, Joplin resident, in AP interview)-"off by then"-Joplin resident Tamara Owens says she's not going out in this morning's ice and thundersnow. (21 Feb 2013)
<<CUT *165 (02/21/13)>> 00:07 "off by then"
138-a-09-(Bruce Sullivan, meteorologist, National Weather Service, in AP interview)-"Rockies late Sunday"-National Weather Service meteorologist Bruce Sullivan says Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri are not only getting snow now, but another storm is on the way. (21 Feb 2013)
<<CUT *138 (02/21/13)>> 00:09 "Rockies late Sunday"
APPHOTO KSSAL101: Gina Pucket shovels snow from her driveway in Salina, Kan. Thursday morning, Feb. 21, 2013. Pucket said "This is pretty easy, it's not heavy or wet, and it's not blowing." (AP Photo/Salina Journal, Tom Dorsey) (21 Feb 2013)
<<APPHOTO KSSAL101 (02/21/13)>>
APPHOTO KSOW103: Drivers get out of their vehicles after a ramp is blocked by truck stuck in snow along I-35 in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park, Kan., Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013. The Kansas Turnpike Authority encouraged drivers to stay off the turnpike entirely; it runs from Oklahoma to Kansas City. There was virtually zero visibility on the turnpike early Thursday. And I-70 and other major highways in Kansas were snowpacked and icy, according to the Kansas Department of Transportation. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback closed executive offices, except for essential personnel. He urged residents to have an extra cup of coffee, get out a board game and play with their children. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner) (21 Feb 2013)
<<APPHOTO KSOW103 (02/21/13)>>