Snow dusted the sands of Malibu and several communities surrounding Los Angeles Wednesday as a bitterly cold Arctic storm spread across the state.
Another winter storm, sprawled in a band across parts of 14 states from Texas east to New England, iced highways and closed schools Wednesday.
In Kansas, all state business offices were ordered shut, with only essential personnel - including telephone operators and janitors - reporting for work.
At mid-day Wednesday, the storm stretched from the Texas panhandle across parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, Hew Hampshire and Maine.
Bobette Polter, an operator manning the phones at the Kansas statehouse, was busy telling callers All local county and state offices are closed due to the weather.
Schools, including the University of Kansas and Kansas State, were closed.
It has been sleeting, and we've gotten six inches of ice pellets, Polter said. Starting at midday today, it's supposed to start snowing. I talked to city workers in Wichita, and they said the city is like an ice rink, it's so slippery. They're supposed to get 4 inches of snow on top of that.
The winter weather was a rude slap just days after unseasonal and sometimes record warmth in many parts of the country.
While only light snow was falling in Chicago, some airline flights bound for O'Hare International Airport were delayed by as much as an hour and 20 minutes because of poor visibility and low ceilings.
Forecasters said the storm was still developing and that freezing rain and heavier snow were likely, with the northeast feeling its impact on Thursday.
The California storm brought light snow to the foothill towns of Sierra Madre, Glendora and Calabassas, as well as such desert areas as Joshua Tree and the Antelope Valley.
As temperatures fell, wind chills as low as 10 below zero were recorded in some areas, according to the National Weather Service.
Heavy snow shut down Interstate 5 through the Grapevine mountain pass that connects Los Angeles to central California to all but local residents on Tuesday night.
In nearby Gorman, about 70 miles north of Los Angeles, three men in their late teens to early 20s were reported missing late Tuesday after going off-road driving in a sports utility vehicle, authorities said. Temperatures early Wednesday reached into the mid-20s.
While light winter snow isn't completely out of place in the foothills to the north and east of Los Angeles, longtime residents of Malibu said it had been a least a decade since that beach-front city had been dusted.
In the suburban Antelope Valley, 60 miles north of Los Angeles, as much as 3 inches of snow was forecast before the storm passed. At the higher mountain elevations, forecasters expected as much as a foot of snow.
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