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Spring snowstorm blankets downstate Illinois

Published: Monday, March 25, 2013 9:53 a.m. CDT

(MCT) BELLEVILLE -- The snow started falling midmorning Sunday. It kept falling all day, a wind-driven mist of white powder that steadily blanketed downtown Belleville's sidewalks and parking lots, and that coated the roads with layers of sloppy mush.

By late afternoon nearly 8 inches of snow had fallen, with plenty more still to come.

Leighton Stollard, 17, wouldn't have it any other way.

Stollard, with camera in hand, wandered the 200 block of East Main Street, eagerly snapping images of the Palm Sunday snow storm.

"I love it," said Stollard, a Belleville Township East High School sophomore. "I love winter."

Joining Stollard were friends Ben Smallwood and Jeremy Bruno, both Belleville East juniors.

While Smallwood also attested to his love of snow, Bruno voiced his dislike of winter weather at this time of year.

"There's nothing wrong with snow," Bruno said. "It's just kind of out of season. We have spring break in three days -- and it's snowing?"

The winter snow storm that pummeled the metro-east Sunday belonged to a larger storm system that blew in from eastern Kansas and picked up momentum before hitting St. Louis, whose northern suburbs received as much as 14 inches of snow.

The inclement weather caused the cancellation of scores of Palm Sunday church services, as well as about 100 flights at Lambert International Airport in St. Louis.

Some parts of central Illinois already had received 6 to 10 inches by Sunday evening and could receive another 1 to 2 inches, said Jim Sieveking, a meteorologist in St. Louis.

Snow began falling Sunday afternoon in Indiana, with accumulations of 6 to 10 inches predicted. The system then was moving into Ohio on Sunday night, bringing between 5 to 9 inches, said Dan Hawblitzel, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in suburban Kansas City.

With plenty of sports action on television Sunday, Belleville resident Matt Denison chose to hunker down inside the warm confines of Friday's South, a tavern at 624 S. Illinois St.

Denison praised Belleville street crews for keeping the streets clear, and, between sips from the beer in front of him, allowed he might go outside to enjoy the snow.

"I might do a little bit of sledding, or something like that," Denison said.

Denison had one quibble, though. The snow storm had cancelled his softball team's scheduled practice at Citizen's Park.

"One of my players did ask if I wanted to put my snowshoes on," he said.

At a nearby table, Teresa Downey, of Alton, downplayed the snow storm's impact.

"I only got stuck twice," Downey said. "I enjoy it a lot. I've already played in the snow, and I'm going to play more."

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The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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©2013 Belleville News-Democrat (Belleville, Ill.)

Visit the Belleville News-Democrat (Belleville, Ill.) at www.bnd.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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