Winter-like weather arrives with a bang in Midwest states - InfoNews

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Winter-like weather arrives with a bang in Midwest states

December 04, 2017 - 11:17 AM

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Blizzard warnings were posted on Monday for portions of Minnesota and the Dakotas as winter-like weather was set to collide with mild temperatures that previously had allowed Midwesterners to rake leaves and put holiday decorations in place.

Despite warmer temperatures in Minneapolis on Monday morning than Phoenix and Los Angeles, by early afternoon blizzard warnings had been posted for northwest Minnesota, southeast North Dakota and northeast South Dakota where winds of up to 55 mph (88.51 kph) were expected to whip up snow and create white-out conditions.

Some schools got ahead of the approaching conditions by cancelling classes Monday, especially in South Dakota. Aberdeen, Britton-Hecla, Groton, Sisseton and Webster schools are among those closed Monday. Anywhere from 1 inch (25 millimeter) to 5 inches (127 millimeters) of snow was expected to fall in that area. In North Dakota and Minnesota, some school districts dismissed students early, including Fergus Falls, East Grand Forks, Emerado and Thompson.

The University of North Dakota closed its campus at 12:30 p.m. Monday.

The South Dakota Department of Transportation temporarily closed westbound Interstate 90 in western South Dakota around noon Monday because of some crashes involving semis, which are especially vulnerable in the high winds.

The North Dakota Department of Transportation issued a travel alert for portions of south central and north eastern North Dakota due to snow covered and slippery roads and blowing snow. Areas included in the south central alert are the cities of Jamestown, Valley City, Ashley, Ellendale and surrounding areas. Areas included in the north eastern alert are the cities of Grand Forks, Grafton, Pembina and surrounding areas.

In South Dakota, forecasters said the rare weather anomaly known as "thunder snow" was possible in the northeast. National Weather Service meteorologist Ryan Lueke said instable weather patterns build electricity, including lightning.

The driving force behind the blizzard conditions is the high winds, Lueke told the Aberdeen American News.

"That's the main story," he said. "Without the winds this snow would be mild. But add in wind gusts of 40 and 50, and sometimes up to 60 miles per hour in some areas, and then mix in the snow — that's the driving force behind the blizzard concerns."

The South Dakota Department of Transportation temporarily closed westbound Interstate 90 in western South Dakota around noon Monday because of some crashes involving semis, which are especially vulnerable in the high winds.

The North Dakota Department of Transportation issued a travel alert for portions of south central and north eastern North Dakota due to snow covered and slippery roads and blowing snow. Areas included in the south central alert are the cities of Jamestown, Valley City, Ashley, Ellendale and surrounding areas. Areas included in the north eastern alert are the cities of Grand Forks, Grafton, Pembina and surrounding areas.

In South Dakota, forecasters said the rare weather anomaly known as "thunder snow" was possible in the northeast. National Weather Service meteorologist Ryan Lueke said instable weather patterns build electricity, including lightning.

The driving force behind the blizzard conditions is the high winds, Lueke told the Aberdeen American News .

"That's the main story," he said. "Without the winds this snow would be mild. But add in wind gusts of 40 and 50, and sometimes up to 60 miles per hour in some areas, and then mix in the snow — that's the driving force behind the blizzard concerns."

News from © The Associated Press, 2017
The Associated Press

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