Major snowstorm headed for New England — again

By Dana Ford, CNN

(CNN) — New England braced Friday for another major snowstorm, just two weeks after a mammoth record-breaking blizzard buried much of the region.

The peak of the storm is forecast for Saturday night through midday Sunday. It is not expected to be as strong as the blizzard, but the storm could still pack a powerful punch, with between 6-18 inches of snow expected in some places.

Interior parts of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine will see the heaviest snow, while the major metro areas of Washington D.C., Philadelphia and New York City are expecting rain. Boston is on the line between rain and snow.

The storm, combined with high winds, could lead to downed trees and power lines.

It will likely to disrupt travel on roads and create delays at airports.

“We’re ready for the snowstorm. The numbers keep on fluctuating — some people say 12 (inches) some people say 3 to 6 (inches). I hope it’s rain,” said Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, CNN affiliate WHDH reported.

The station said public works crews were busy filling potholes ahead of the storm, which is forecast to move out into the Atlantic on Monday.

The winter storm is separate from one that hit 20 states this week, dumping record snow in parts of Kansas.

Some snow records

Wichita, Kansas, saw its second-highest storm snowfall total on record with 14.2 inches over two days, the National Weather Service said.

Some parts of the state saw even more snow, and Missouri was not far behind, with accumulations of around a foot in some places. Neighboring Nebraska got less snow than expected.

The snow set a record at Kansas City International Airport with 9 inches falling in a single day. The old record was 5.1 inches set in 2010. The airport closed down Thursday evening but reopened overnight.

Some businesses and universities shut down Thursday as state officials urged residents to stay off the roads.

The white blanket emptied out the streets of Kansas City.

Buses ran until 1 p.m. Thursday, but driving them wasn’t easy, as some got stuck. One bus trying to negotiate a left turn on a snow-covered street fishtailed, swiping down a light pole on a sidewalk. The incident was caught on camera and made its way to CNN affiliate KMBC.

Bus service resumed Friday morning, and a handful of businesses reopened, KMBC reported.

Silver lining

While causing mayhem elsewhere, the snowstorm turned out to be a welcome one to many Kansans and many others throughout the Great Plains who are suffering a drought.

This is the third straight year of severe drought in the nation’s breadbasket — affecting not just Kansas, but also Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri and a host of other farm-heavy states. The Kansas Department of Agriculture expects those conditions to continue into April, but near-record levels of snowfall will ease the problem and could accelerate the drought’s end.

“It snows so infrequently here. Now we’ve been in a really bad drought for several years; really, really hot summer and just no moisture. So we’re thrilled to see snow or ice — whatever moisture we can get,” Wichita resident Kristen Woodburn said.

Ranchers embraced the storm, even though bitter cold snowstorms can be deadly during calving season.

Frank Harper, a Kansas rancher from Sedgwick and the immediate past president of the Kansas Livestock Association, said the storm did cause more work for him because he had to bring his calves inside throughout the day to warm them up.

“The saving grace is the temperature. It’s not too cold tonight, so we should be in good shape,” Harper said, adding that he hasn’t lost any calves in the storm. He even called the snowstorm a blessing for bringing good moisture to the winter wheat.

CNN’s Dave Hennen, Ben Brumfield, Erin McPike, Josh Levs and Pedram Javaheri contributed to this report.

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