Bl­iz­zards, ice storms wreak havoc across north plains

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Travel con­di­tions re­mained haz­ardous as a win­ter storm swept across much of the north­ern Great Plains Mon­day, with blow­ing and drift­ing snow cre­at­ing near-zero vis­i­bil­ity on some roads. The com­bi­na­tion of freez­ing rain, snow and high winds that forced the shut­down Sun­day of vast stretches of high­ways in the Dako­tas con­tin­ued into Mon­day morn­ing, and au­thor­i­ties is­sued no-travel warn­ings for much of North Dakota.

The storm also has caused widespread power out­ages in the Dako­tas, Ne­braska and western Iowa. As of 1 am yes­ter­day, the South Dakota Ru­ral Elec­tric As­so­ci­a­tion was re­port­ing 10,231 “mem­ber-con­sumerown­ers” were with­out power. In Ne­braska, high winds were cited for hun­dreds of power out­ages in cen­tral and eastern por­tions of the state. “Be­tween the ice and snow, and winds howl­ing like crazy, there will be noth­ing mov­ing” un­til late af­ter­noon Mon­day, said Na­tional Weather Ser­vice me­te­o­rol­o­gist Greg Gust in Grand Forks, North Dakota. “Then it’s dig-out time.” Gust’s ad­vice to trav­el­ers: “Stay put.”

The weather ser­vice of­fice in Bis­marck, North Dakota, pre­dicted snow ac­cu­mu­la­tions of 8 to 15 inches in western parts of the state and thun­der­storms in the cen­tral re­gion. The North Dakota Trans­porta­tion De­part­ment closed most of a 240mile stretch of In­ter­state 94 Sun­day night, from the Montana border to Jamestown. That stretch re­mained closed yes­ter­day morn­ing. Por­tions of US High­ways 2, 52 and 281 were also closed be­cause of snow, ice and “near zero vis­i­bil­ity.” Mo­torists who drive past the road­blocks can be fined up to $250.

No-travel ad­vi­sories were is­sued for much of North Dakota, in­clud­ing the Wil­lis­ton, Dick­in­son, Minot, Bis­marck, Jamestown, Val­ley City and Grand Forks ar­eas. Au­thor­i­ties in South Dakota shut down In­ter­state 90 from the Wyoming border to Cham­ber­lain - a dis­tance of about 260 miles. Icy con­di­tions in Aberdeen, South Dakota, prompted the Brown County Sher­iff’s Of­fice to is­sue a no travel ad­vi­sory. Aberdeen was also un­der a weather ser­vice flash flood warn­ing af­ter rain and snowmelt flooded ma­jor in­ter­sec­tions in the city. The weather ser­vice warned any­one who “must travel” on icy roads in cen­tral Min­nesota to have an ex­tra flash­light, food and wa­ter.

—AP

MANDAN, North Dakota: Mandan fire­fight­ers Shane Weltikol (left) and Chad Nick­los clear ac­cu­mu­lat­ing snow from out­side the fire­house in down­town Mandan as the Christ­mas Day bliz­zard in­ten­si­fies on Sun­day.

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