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Christmas Day blizzard takes aim at Dakotas, Montana

/ 08:16 AM December 26, 2016

CHICAGO—It’ll be a white—but slick and messy—Christmas for the northern Plains and some Western states.

Most of the Dakotas and southwest Minnesota was turning into an “icy, slippery mess” due to freezing rain Sunday morning that was expected change into snow later in the day when temperatures fell, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Greg Gust in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

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His advice to holiday travelers: “Stay put.”

“Between the ice and snow, and winds howling like crazy, there will be nothing moving” until late afternoon Monday, he said. “Then it’s dig-out time.”

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A blizzard warning was in effect for most of North Dakota, western South Dakota and a small section of eastern Montana through Monday, with expected snow totals of 8 to 15 inches and winds up to 55 mph.

The North Dakota Transportation Department closed a 240-mile stretch of Interstate 94 Sunday night, from the Montana border to Jamestown. A 100-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 83 between Bismarck and Minot also was closed due to drifting snow and near-zero visibility.

Up to a ½ inch of ice could accumulate in central Minnesota, and the weather service has said anyone who “must travel” should have an extra flashlight, food and water.

Rain and possible storms were due to move through parts of Kansas, Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska on Sunday.

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TAGS: blizzard, Christmas Day, Dakotas, Montana, Weather
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