Winter Storm Bearing Down On Midwest

The icy storm that has blasted Oklahoma, Missouri, and Kansas has so far killed at least 22 people, with the worst death toll from ice-coated highways in Oklahoma, and storm warnings are up now for parts of Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois.

Icy conditions are also blamed for leaving some 600,000 homes and businesses in the dark, with power outages in Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and southern Illinois.

Oklahoma utilities said a half-million customers were blacked out as power lines snapped under the weight of ice and falling tree branches--the biggest power outage in state history--and utilities in Missouri said more than 100,000 homes and business had no power there.

Roughly 11,000 customers were blacked out in southern Illinois and more than 5,000 had no electric heat or lights in Kansas

In Kansas, where another round of freezing rain and ice is expected, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has declared a state of emergency in all 105 counties.

Sebelius cited warnings from the National Weather Service that parts of Kansas could expect up to 2 inches of ice before the storm ends late Tuesday and early Wednesday. The state's emergency operations center was activated to coordinate the response to the storm.

Since Jan. 1, Kansas has been hit with a devastating ice and snow storm in the west, a tornado that leveled Greensburg, and severe flooding in southeast Kansas.

In Iowa, about an inch of ice is expected to accumulate in parts of the state by Tuesday afternoon, followed by up to 5 inches of sleet and snow.

Most of the ice will occur in southeast Iowa, where the temperatures are higher, with more snow accumulating in the northern parts, said Frank Boksa, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Des Moines.

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The Associated Press

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