Winter weather alerts issued in Kansas and Missouri

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A massive storm system moving across the southwest into the Great Plains prompted some schools in western Kansas to cancel school on Wednesday as the rest of the state braces for its first significant snowfall of the season.

The Colby and Oakley school districts canceled Wednesday classes as forecasters posted blizzard warnings Tuesday for northwestern and west-central Kansas.

Wednesday evening, school officials closed Genesis Christian Academy for both Thursday and Friday not because of the weather, but because there is no heat in the school.

Closer to Kansas City, most of the 41 Action News viewing area is in a Winter Weather Advisory or Winter Storm Warning. The alerts are in place through noon Thursday.

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Gary Lezak says snow will fall around 4 a.m. in Kansas City and likely become heavy at times for two or three hours. Total accumulations of 2 to 4 inches are possible in the Kansas City area with higher amounts farther north.

The Winter Weather Advisory, issued for areas south of St. Joseph, calls for snow falling for several hours. Accumulations near Highway 36 could be as much as three to seven inches.

KANSAS CITY'S MOST ACCURATE FORECAST: http://bit.ly/Sw8AkX

Winds could gust as high as 45 mph.

Parts of northwest Missouri are in a Blizzard Warning, while parts of northeast Kansas are in a Winter Storm Warning.

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As the system moves toward Kansas City, it is expected to drop about six inches of snow along the Front Range, home to 4.1 million of Colorado's 5 million residents.

The storm has already caused difficult driving conditions in western Colorado that prompted officials to close Colorado 65 over the 11,333-foot Grand Mesa near Grand Junction.

The main east-west route across Colorado, Interstate 70, was closed from east of Denver to the Kansas line because of poor visibility due to blowing snow Wednesday. Smaller highways were also closed in eastern Colorado. Airport delays are also expected in Denver.

The National Weather Service says two-day snow totals of 3-8 inches are likely in southern Utah and northern Arizona. Mountains and ski areas in the three states will get more snow.

Stay tuned to KSHB.com and your 41 Action News station for updates on the changing weather conditions.

The Associated Press Contributed to this Report

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