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Heavy snow threatens parts of West

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 3:42 PM EST, Wed December 21, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Higher elevations of the Rocky Mountains are expected to get hit the hardest
  • Up to 15 inches of snow could fall in some areas
  • Roads are icy in New Mexico
  • On Tuesday blizzard warnings stretched from Colorado to Texas

(CNN) -- A blizzard that roared through much of the southern Rockies and central Plains tapered off Wednesday, but several states were still expected to deal with heavy snow.

Winter weather watches, warnings and advisories were in effect Wednesday for much of the West, according to the National Weather Service.

The higher elevations of the Rocky Mountains were expected to get hit the hardest, with some likely to be coated with up to 15 inches of snow in the coming days. Other areas could get eight inches, the weather service said.

The storm could make travel on some roads "very hazardous or impossible," the weather service warned.

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This was the case on some roads Tuesday as blizzard warnings stretched from southeast Colorado through western Kansas, the Oklahoma panhandle and far northern Texas.

Interstates and highways were shut down Monday night as at least five states contended with heavy snow, fierce winds and ice.

New Mexico State Police shut down Interstate 40, a major east-west artery from Albuquerque to the Texas state line, saying there was zero visibility because of blowing snow. Interstate 25 was shut down from just north of Albuquerque to the Colorado state line because of the blizzard conditions, which included snow-packed and icy roads.

One of the many stalled by the storm Tuesday was Linda Martinez, who had planned to take the interstate into New Mexico with her husband and daughter, according to CNN affiliate KXRM.

Instead, she was stuck in her car at a gas station in Colorado City staring at the heavy snow gusts.

"We've traveled in storms like this before, but looking at it now, I don't want to chance it," Martinez said.

CNN Meteorologist Sean Morris contributed to this report

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