Blizzard conditions threaten to disrupt travel across the northern plains

More than 760,000 people were under a blizzard warning in the northern Great Plains on Monday as heavy snow and powerful winds battered the region, creating treacherous road conditions that could last into Tuesday.

Central South Dakota, where more than a foot of snow was possible, was expected to bear the brunt of the storm. Hazardous conditions are also forecast for parts of east-central and southeastern South Dakota, southern North Dakota and Nebraska, said Kyle Weiser, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls, SD.

As of Monday evening, parts of southeastern South Dakota had received up to six inches of snow, but more was expected overnight, said Weather Service meteorologist Ashton Robinson Cook. Parts of central and northeastern Nebraska, including Martinsburg, Lincoln and Central City, received about six inches of snow as of Monday evening, although the area is not expected to see a full snowfall until Tuesday morning, Mr. Cook said.

“Travel is very difficult and impossible,” said the meteorologists warned in an advisoryHe noted that “widespread blowing snow” will significantly reduce visibility.

South Dakota Department of Transportation said in a press release Conditions on snow and ice-covered roads were “close to zero visibility” Monday afternoon, prompting officials to close parts of Interstate 90 beginning Tuesday morning.

A crash involving several jackknife tractor-trailers forced the closure of a section of eastbound Interstate 80 near York, Neb., for about three hours Monday afternoon, the Nebraska State Patrol said. There were no injuries in the crash, which was caused in part by snow and slick road conditions, Nebraska State Patrol spokesman Cody Thomas said in a statement.

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About 60 “weather-related incidents” occurred on Interstate 80 in Nebraska on Monday, Mr. Thomas said, mostly between Lincoln and North Platte.

“We urge all travelers to assess whether their journey is absolutely necessary or not before hitting the road,” he said.

Forecasters warned that strong winds, especially in South Dakota, could damage trees and cause power outages with the risk of downed power lines. However, there were no reports of widespread power outages on Monday night.

Heavy snow is expected in central South Dakota from 2pm to 10pm local time, the weather service said. Strong winds and snow will continue overnight, especially in the central part of the state, forecasters said. A blizzard warning remained in effect until Tuesday night.

North Dakota and Nebraska will receive more freezing rain, forecasters said, which will cause slushy conditions. Mr. Weather Service. Cook said a quarter of an inch of snow accumulated in Fargo, ND, as of Monday afternoon, but that amount could increase into the evening, and rain battered the city of about 120,000. Residents.

Blizzard conditions are expected in northern and northwestern Kansas through Wednesday morning, as well as northeastern Colorado Monday night into Monday night, according to the weather service.

Vacationers who expected to hit the road Monday afternoon may want to adjust their plans, Mr. Weiser said.

“Depending on which direction you're going, if you haven't left yet, you'll have to wait until tomorrow,” he said.

Mr. Weiser said. However, strong winds could still be an issue for drivers, he said.

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“Even if there's not a lot of snow, if the wind is 30 to 40 miles per hour, you can still reduce visibility significantly,” he said.

The impact on air travel at the beginning of the storm appeared to be relatively moderate. About 170 flights into, in or out of the US were canceled as of Monday night FlightAware. Around 2,720 flights were delayed across the country. The Sioux Falls Regional Airport encouraged travelers to check with their airlines for information about any cancellations or delays.

Eduardo Medina Contributed report.

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