BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Spring was put on hold in parts of the Dakotas Saturday as blizzard warnings were posted for the two states, which could result in the second strong storm to hit western North Dakota this month.
The National Weather Service reported “significant” ice accumulations in western North Dakota due to freezing rain, a problem that will be compounded by heavy snow. As much as 20 inches of snow was possible from Beach to Williston to Crosby, with lesser but still significant amounts in other areas, The Bismarck Tribune reported.
The forecast called for wind gusts as high as 65 mph in some areas of North Dakota and snowfall rates up to 2 inches per hour were expected late Saturday. State officials shut down Interstate 94 from Dickinson to the Montana border and advised no travel in the remaining western third of the state.
The weather also is a concern for ranchers, with spring calving only about two-thirds complete in North Dakota, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Livestock are still reeling from a record-setting three-day blizzard earlier this month that was followed days later by an Easter Sunday snowstorm.
Tornado watches and warnings were issued Saturday afternoon for parts of eastern North Dakota.
In South Dakota, blizzard warnings were issued for Harding, Perkins and Butte counties in the far northwestern part of the state until late Sunday afternoon. Up to 7 inches of snow was possible with winds gusting up to 65 mph, the weather service said in a release.