Wicked winter weather plagues the Great Plains

Dec. 25, 2016: Than firefighters Shane Weltikol, left, and Chad Nicklos clear accumulation of snow from outside the fire station in the centre of Than, N. D., when the Christmas day blizzard intensifies.

(Tom Stromme/The Bismarck Tribune via AP)

CHICAGO travel conditions remain dangerous over a large part of the northern Great Plains as a winter storm continues to sweep across the region.

The combination of sleet, snow and strong winds, which forced the shutdown Sunday of vast highways in the Dakota’s was expected to continue to Monday morning.

The storm has caused widespread power outages in the Dakotas, Nebraska and western Iowa.

With effect from 1 pm Monday, the South Dakota Rural Electric Association was the report of 10,231 “consumer-owners” were without power. In Nebraska, high winds were cited for hundreds of power outages in the central and eastern parts of the state.

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“Between the ice and the snow, and the wind is howling like crazy, there will be nothing in motion” until the late afternoon of Monday, said National Weather Service meteorologist Greg Gust in Grand Forks, North Dakota. “It’s dig-out time.”

Gust advice to travelers: “Stay put.”

The weather service office in Bismarck, North Dakota, predicted snow accumulations of 8 to 15 inches in the western part of the state and thunderstorms in the central region.

The North Dakota Department of traffic closed a 240-mile stretch of Interstate 94 the night of Sunday to Monday, the Montana border to Jamestown. s of the U.S. Highways 2, 52 and 281 were closed due to snow, ice and “near zero visibility.”

Bismarck police chief Dan Donlin issued a no travel advisory for North Dakota capital city, where stranded vehicles blocked roads and intersections.

The authorities in South Dakota exit of Interstate 90 from the border with Wyoming to Chamberlain, a distance of approximately 260 km.

Icy conditions in Aberdeen, South Dakota, asked the Brown County Sheriff’s Office to a no travel advisory. Aberdeen was also subject to a weather service flash flood warning after the rain and the melting of the snow flooded major intersections in the city.

The meteorological department warned anyone who “travel” on the icy roads in central Minnesota to have an extra flashlight, food and water.

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