Storm warnings and blizzard situations prolonged to a minimum of 12 states, the Nationwide Climate Service mentioned. Officers urged drivers to be cautious, with states reminiscent of South Dakota warning folks in some counties to remain off the roads utterly.
CNN meteorologist Michael Man mentioned metro Denver is now out of the warning space. The heaviest snow will hit north central Nebraska, central and southeast South Dakota and Minnesota, together with metro Minneapolis, because the storm system continues its monitor towards northeast into Canada.
The Plains might get greater than 2 toes of snow by Friday morning, and South Dakota is bracing for a doable 30 inches.
Hurricane-strength winds hit some areas
Heavy snow dropped in components of South Dakota on Wednesday, and shortly started slamming different states, together with Wyoming, Colorado and Minnesota.
However whereas the storm didn’t bomb out by definition, Man mentioned, it was nonetheless extraordinarily highly effective and produced wind gusts in extra of hurricane power. The very best wind gust reported was in Pueblo, Colorado, at 107 mph — the equal of sustained winds in a Class 2 hurricane, he added.
Keep off the roads, drivers warned
In some states, getting from one level to a different can be a nightmare.
In South Dakota, the sheriff’s departments of Deuel and Hamlin counties requested folks to chorus from driving by way of Thursday because the blizzard shut down components of interstates.
“Roads have gotten impassable. Except you might be experiencing an emergency, please keep off the roads,” the Nationwide Climate Service mentioned.
Because the storm moved east, authorities reported treacherous journey situations, flight cancellations and site visitors pileups. The Minnesota State Patrol responded to 213 crashes by Wednesday night. Of these, 33 concerned accidents, authorities tweeted.
In Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis activated the state’s nationwide guard to assist stranded motorists.
Abrupt shift in temperatures
Simply this week, Denver was basking in springlike situations with 78 levels Tuesday, a near-record excessive for that date. By Wednesday, temperatures had been within the mid- to higher 30s.
The Minneapolis/St. Paul space could also be spared blizzard situations however nonetheless might see as much as 5 inches of snow. Minneapolis colleges will decide Thursday morning on whether or not colleges can be open.
Flooding dangers from snow
The snowfall might result in extra flooding within the area.
In South Dakota and western Minnesota, rivers will see reasonable to main flooding as extra snow will sluggish the speed at which waters recede.
The Purple River is experiencing vital flooding due to melting snow, with this new storm seemingly prolonging the excessive water.
A hotter part of the storm, in the meantime, might carry robust rain and different extreme situations — together with damaging winds, giant hail and tornadoes — to components of Nebraska, Kansas and Iowa.
In Iowa, Gov. Kim Reynolds urged residents to make preparations for flooding.
Airways permitting vacationers to vary tickets
Frontier and United airways will enable passengers scheduled to journey Wednesday or Thursday throughout the Plains space to vary their tickets at no cost.
Southwest mentioned some flights could also be disrupted till Thursday and urged vacationers to examine their flight standing and discover their choices on its web site.
CNN’s Jason Hanna, Christina Maxouris, Dave Alsup and Joe Sutton contributed to this report.