Harsh weather giv­ing trav­el­ers blues

Mid­west bl­iz­zard, South­ern tor­na­does up­set hol­i­day roads, air­ports

The Washington Times Daily - - NATION -

CHICAGO | Travel con­di­tions re­mained haz­ardous as a win­ter storm swept across much of the north­ern Plains on Mon­day, with blow­ing and drift­ing snow forc­ing the clo­sure of an air­port and cre­at­ing near-zero vis­i­bil­ity on some roads.

The com­bi­na­tion of freez­ing rain, snow and high winds that forced vast stretches of high­ways in the Dako­tas to be shut down Sun­day con­tin­ued into Mon­day, and au­thor­i­ties is­sued no-travel warn­ings for much of North Dakota, in­clud­ing the Wil­lis­ton, Dickinson, Minot, Bis­marck, Jamestown, Val­ley City and Grand Forks ar­eas.

Mean­while, in parts of the South, un­sea­son­ably warm tem­per­a­tures were rais­ing the risk of tor­na­does and dam­ag­ing thun­der­storms. About 3 mil­lion peo­ple in parts of Arkansas, Mis­souri, Ken­tucky and Ten­nessee could see dam­ag­ing wind gusts and iso­lated tor­na­does Mon­day, the Storm Pre­dic­tion Cen­ter in Nor­man, Ok­la­homa, said, but no ma­jor out­break is ex­pected.

The Na­tional Weather Ser­vice’s bl­iz­zard warn­ing for western and cen­tral North Dakota ex­pired Mon­day af­ter­noon, but the agency warned snow drifts still blocked some roads.

Se­vere white­out con­di­tions led to the clo­sure of Minot In­ter­na­tional Air­port, and the fa­cil­ity wasn’t ex­pected to re­open un­til 3 a.m. Tues­day. The air­ports serv­ing Fargo and Bis­marck also listed flight can­cel­la­tions on their web­sites.

In­ter­state 94 re­mained closed west of Jamestown, North Dakota. In­ter­state 90, which had been closed for 260 miles between the Wy­oming bor­der and Cham­ber­lain, South Dakota, was re­opened to traf­fic Mon­day.

Por­tions of U.S. 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.

Winds gust­ing 40 mph to 50 mph also led to de­lays and can­cel­la­tions at Min­neapo­lis-St. Paul In­ter­na­tional Air­port. The storm also has caused power out­ages in the Dako­tas and Ne­braska.

The South Dakota Ru­ral Elec­tric As­so­ci­a­tion said roughly 16,000 of its cus­tomers were without power Mon­day evening. In Ne­braska, winds gust­ing up to 70 mph were cited for hun­dreds of power out­ages in cen­tral and eastern por­tions of the state Sun­day, although by Mon­day morn­ing, util­i­ties re­ported that power had been re­stored to most cus­tomers.

ASSOCIATED PRESS PHO­TOGRAPHS

Madori Grif­fin walks to her job at the in­ten­sive care unit of San­ford Hos­pi­tal in Bis­marck, North Dakota, as win­ter weather made driv­ing all but im­pos­si­ble. Freez­ing rain, snow and high winds forced the shut­down of vast stretches of high­ways in the Dako­tas on Christ­mas Day and into Mon­day.

Like many hol­i­day trav­el­ers, Chelsey Kalm­back’s plans to fly were com­pli­cated thanks to weather.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.