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Kansas governor says winter storm kills 6 in state

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- Gov. Sam Brownback said Wednesday the latest winter storm is being blamed for six deaths in Kansas.

But the governor said during a media briefing at the Statehouse that he was pleased that most residents heeded warnings to stay out of danger from the two storms that blanketed much of Kansas.

"This has been a challenging seven days, to say the least," Brownback said. "We knew the second one would be worse with white-out conditions, strong winds, more ice and power outages. Those all contributed to the loss of lives."

The governor said two people died in traffic crashes, including one thrown from a vehicle.

Kansas City, Kan., police say a 58-year-old man and his 69-year-old sister were found dead in their home Tuesday evening, and carbon monoxide poisoning is the suspected cause of death. They were using a portable generator in a garage because of a power outage due to the storm. Their names were not immediately released.

Brownback said another Kansas City woman died when she was struck by a vehicle while walking in the snow. A sixth victim died of a heart attack and hypothermia in southwest Kansas while shoveling snow.

The storms that crossed Kansas last Thursday and again this week dropped more than 2 feet of snow in some places and knocked out power to thousands of customers, mostly in eastern counties. As of Wednesday morning, about 10,000 customers in the affected areas were still without power, though company officials expected all service to be restored by the end of the day.

Brownback and other members of his Cabinet also said use of government websites for travel information updates and other social media helped to spread the word about the storm's progress and road closures.

Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli, state adjutant general and director of emergency management, said damage assessment teams will begin surveying affected counties next week to determine what assistance may be necessary for recovery.