Blizzard conditions close Texas Panhandle highways

Officials closed Interstate 40 west of Amarillo early Friday as a Panhandle winter storm intensified.

A Texas Department of Public Safety dispatcher in Amarillo says the National Guard has been placed on alert to help blizzard-stranded motorists, if needed.

A series of wrecks and blizzard conditions in the far northwestern corner of the Texas Panhandle has forced the closing of a stretch of U.S. Highway 87 from Dalhart to the New Mexico state line. Authorities closed U.S. 54 west of Dalhart and U.S. 385 north of Dalhart because of low visibility in blowing snow.

The National Weather Service said snowfalls of up to a foot and winds gusting to more than 45 mph could lead to snowdrifts of up to 20 feet before the storm wanes near midday Saturday.