Blizzard Warning For Parts Of Dakotas, Wyoming, Montana

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — Heavy snow and strong gusty winds will whip up blizzard conditions for parts of several states this weekend, including the Dakotas, Wyoming and Montana, according to forecasters.

The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning from overnight Friday through Sunday. Portions of northeastern Wyoming and northwestern South Dakota, including the northern Black Hills, could see up to 18 inches (45.7 centimeters) to 20 inches (50.8 centimeters) of snow with wind gusts of 65 mph to 75 mph.

Travel should be restricted to emergencies only, the weather service advised.

Across the plains from Rapid City eastward, severe thunderstorms were expected Friday afternoon and evening with large hail, damaging winds and the potential for tornadoes.

It's another round of challenging weather, especially for North Dakota where a three-day blizzard last week dropped 2 feet (60.9 centimeters) to 3 feet (91.4 centimeters) of snow over a wide western area, and an Easter Sunday storm that followed added several inches more. The snowy and cold weather set more than two dozen records in the state, including nearly 10 in Bismarck alone.

Snowfall rates up to 2 inches per hour are possible in western North Dakota on Saturday, according to AccuWeather, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

“Where the heaviest snow falls, on the order of 1-2 feet, strong winds can not only create blizzard conditions but cause drifts of 5-8 feet in some cases,” AccuWeather meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said. “Motorists with travel plans through these areas should be prepared for major delays and road closures. Interstate 94 could be affected,” he added.