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Flights Cancelled As Snow Pounds US Great Plains

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A major winter storm pounded the US Great Plains on Thursday creating hazardous travel that resulted in at least one death, closing schools, scuttling air travel, and cutting off power to some communities.

More than 90 percent of flights out of Kansas City Airport were cancelled Thursday morning, according the airport website.

About 55 commuter flights were cancelled out of Denver Airport overnight, mostly due to adverse conditions in Midwestern destinations in Kansas and Nebraska, said spokeswoman Laura Coale.

About 30 flights in and out of Omaha's Eppley Airfield were cancelled by mid-morning Thursday.

Winter storm warnings and advisories were in place for much of the central and southern Plains and into the upper Midwest and Mississippi River Valley as the storm moved east, packing snow, sleet and freezing rain, the National Weather Service said.

Ice storm warnings were in effect for parts of northern Arkansas. The massive storm was expected to spawn thunderstorms and rain on its southern edge from eastern Texas to Georgia, the forecaster said.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency because of hazardous travel and possible power outages. Kansas Governor Sam Brownback ordered state offices closed because of the storm.

Kansas City encountered an unusual mixture of snow, thunder and lightning, with 2 to 3 inches of snow falling per hour.

"When there is thunder and lightning, it's a pretty screaming clue that you are going to have massive snowfall," said Andy Bailey, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill, Missouri.

(Reuters)