Heavy Snow Hampers Efforts to Reopen West Texas Interstate

Posted on: 7:30 am, January 4, 2013, by

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(CNN) — Blizzard conditions hampered efforts early Friday to reopen large sections of Interstate 10 in west Texas that were closed following crashes.

Portions of a 240-mile stretch of the interstate were closed in both directions from El Paso to Fort Stockton city Thursday evening, said Veronica Beyer, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Transportation.

She urged motorists to “avoid” the area.

The interstate will likely remain closed through the morning hours because of a “truck wreck and blizzard conditions,” Beyer said.

There were several other accidents, including a police officer who was hit by a car while trying to get to another accident on Interstate 10.

That officer was hospitalized Thursday evening with minor injuries, CNN affiliate KDBC reported.

Heavy snow also caused the closure of U.S. Highway 62/180, also from east of El Paso west to the New Mexico state line.

The National Weather Service predicted that some mountain areas in west Texas could see up to 8 inches of snow by midday Friday.

Other areas are expecting between 4 and 6 inches, forecasters said.

The snow storm caused the closure of some schools, stores and government buildings in the El Paso area Thursday, CNN affiliate KTSM said.

The weather also scuttled travelers’ plans.

“The weather has had an impact on our flights today. We have seen cancellations and also, many delays,” Liz Bellegarde, a spokeswoman at El Paso International Airport, told KTSM.

Not everyone was unhappy with the snowy conditions.

CNN iReporter Charles A. Ogin IV, who works at Fort Bliss with Army narcotics dogs, sent in a photo of one of his canines, a 3-year-old Belgian Malinois, playing in the snow.

Duck, unlike some of the other dogs in the unit, had never seen snow before.

“The whole K-9 section was laughing,” Ogin said. “Duck is our new addition for the Army kennels on Bliss, and he was so excited.”

Ogin said 2 inches of snow had already fallen by Thursday evening.

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