Discuss as:

'Life-threatening' storm set to slam Southwest, Plains

Susan Montoya Bryan / AP

Travelers drive in slushy conditions along U.S. 550 near Rio Rancho, N.M., on Monday, Dec. 19, 2011. A major winter storm was moving across New Mexico on Monday, closing highways and stranding motorists in blizzard conditions. The storm was expected to bring as much as 20 inches of snow to the northeastern part of the state.

Here we go again . . .

AP reports:

A powerful storm dumped heavy snow across sections of the Southwest and Great Plains Monday, stranding motorists in New Mexico in whiteout conditions and wreaking havoc on holiday travel just two days before the start of winter.

Warnings forecasting snowfalls of up to 18 inches stretched across the region as the storm barreled through New Mexico headed into the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles and parts of Kansas and Colorado. In southern Colorado, blizzard conditions were expected to drop between 8 and 16 inches of snow.

Clyde Mueller / AP

Inbound traffic on I-25 approaches Santa Fe, N.M. in a single file as snow accumulates on the road, Monday Dec. 19, 2011 as a winter storm hit the area.

Clyde Mueller / AP

Sidewalks are cleared along the Paseo de Peralta in Santa Fe, N.M. as Santa Fe residents deal with the winter storm that hit Monday Dec. 19, 2011.

Bitter cold, strong winds and heavy snow were expected to pummel the Southwest and plains states with blizzard conditions possible in parts of New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Msnbc's Tamron Hall and the Weather Channel's Carl Parker report.