The blizzard walloping parts of West Texas could further diminish a cattle herd already at a 60-year low.
The National Weather Service says more than a foot of snow will fall Monday on parts of the Panhandle. Snowfall totals could reach 18 inches in some places. Flights are cancelled, roads are impassable and schools shuttered.
Amarillo rancher Jay O'Brien said the blizzard could prove deadly for cattle out grazing in pastures, particularly calves born in recent days. Gusts of more than 50 mph will push animals into a fenced corner where they could suffocate in snow drifts. He says cattle in feedlots can lose up to 40 pounds in a storm like this.
The nation's cattle herd is already at its lowest number since 1952.