SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) – A powerful storm dumped more than a foot of snow in the Plains, closing schools and roads and forcing residents to man shovels during the first day of spring Monday.

Hundreds of schools were closed in Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado and South Dakota, and at least four deaths were blamed on the storm. Spring officially began at 1:26 p.m.

Myron Williams, who raises livestock near Wall, was busy shoveling a foot of snow from gates and feedlots on his property. The rancher said the work was hard but the precipitation was welcome.

“We’re glad to have the moisture,” Williams said. “Nothing’s free, so you’ve got to pay for everything.”

The National Weather Service was still compiling snowfall totals Monday, but South Dakota got up to 18 inches. Parts of Nebraska had 15 inches, northeast Colorado had at least a foot, and northwest Kansas had up to 10 inches.

“We could be looking at over 20 inches by the time this is done,” said Kyle Carstens, a meteorologist with the weather service’s Rapid City office.

Several stretches of Interstate 80 were closed in Nebraska, the State Patrol said. Parts of Interstate 70 were closed in western Kansas, and in Colorado more than 150 miles of the highway were shut down.

In South Dakota, a stretch of about 200 miles of I-90 was reopened Monday. The highway had been closed from Rapid City to Chamberlain because of the heavy snow and tractor-trailers that had gotten stuck.

Up to 8 inches of rain was reported in northern Texas, causing weekend flooding around the Dallas area. That eased what has been classified as a “severe” drought in the region, but the weather service said the Dallas-Fort Worth area was still 11.5 inches below normal.

In Dallas, the body of a woman was recovered from a creek. Officials believe high water swept her car off a road Sunday night.

In Colorado, one person was killed Sunday in a traffic accident on a slush-covered road, the State Patrol said. Two motorists died on an icy highway in southwest Nebraska on Sunday, authorities said.


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