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In the Des Moines suburb of Urbandale, Kristin Isenhart, 38, said her three kids, ages 9, 5 and 3, were asking about going outside to play after school as canceled for the day.

“They are thrilled that it snowed,” she said. “They’ve asked several times to go outside, and I might bundle them up and let them go.”

As far as the region’s drought, meteorologists said the storm wouldn’t make much of a dent. It takes a foot or more of snow to equal an inch of water, said Brian Fuchs, a climatologist at the National Drought Mitigation Center.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people lost power in Arkansas, Iowa and Nebraska as heavy snow and strong winds pulled down lines. Smaller outages were reported in Alabama, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Louisiana.

“The roads have been so bad our crews have not been able to respond to them,” said Justin Foss, a spokesman for Alliant Energy, which had 13,000 customers without power in central Iowa. “We have giant four-wheel-drive trucks with chains on them, so when we can’t get there, it’s pretty rough.”

The airport at Creston, Iowa, recorded the highest winds, with a gust of 53 mph, said Kevin Skow, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

Along with Thursday’s fatal accident in Iowa, the storm was blamed for road deaths in Kansas and Wisconsin. In southeastern Utah, a woman who tried to walk for help after her car became stuck in snow died Tuesday night.

The owner of the Norske Nook restaurant and bakery in Osseo, a town in west-central Wisconsin that woke up to at least 10 inches of snow, said that  “blizzardy” conditions were not unusual for the area and that the weather would not upset her business.

“It’s our policy to stay open for the customers,” said Jean Zingshiem, the proprietor. “In case someone is stranded, they’ll have somewhere to go.”

Blake Landau, a cook serving eggs, roast beef sandwiches and chili to hungry snowplow drivers at Newton’s Paradise Cafe in downtown Waterloo, Iowa, said he has always liked it when it snows on his birthday. He turned 27 on Thursday.

“It’s kind of one of those things where it’s leading up to Christmastime,” Mr. Landau said. “We don’t know when we get our first snowfall, and I hope we get it by my birthday. It’s nice to have a nice snowy Christmas.”

Margery Beck reported from Omaha. Associated Press writers Scott Mayerowitz in New York; Dinesh Ramde and Gretchen Ehlke in Milwaukee, Wis.; Scott Bauer in Madison, Wis.; Heather Hollingsworth in Kansas City, Mo.; Carla K. Johnson and Jason Keyser in Chicago; Jill Bleed in Little Rock, Ark.; Jim Suhr in St. Louis; Barbara Rodriguez in Des Moines; and Ryan J. Foley in Iowa City, Iowa, contributed to this report.