Blizzard Closes Out March in the Plains

By , Senior Meteorologist
March 31, 2014; 8:06 PM ET
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Play video Weather across the North Central region is detailed in the above video.

March is coming to an end with a disruptive blizzard that is shutting down travel across the northern Plains into Monday night and into early Tuesday morning.

As of late Monday night, snow totaling more than nine inches was reported in Grand Forks, N.D. and Hallock, Minn., according to NWS observers.

The blizzard will reach from northeastern South Dakota, much of North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota through Monday night. People in this area should expect travel delays and disruptions to daily activities.

Rapid City, Pierre and Aberdeen, S.D., Fargo, Jamestown and Bismarck, N.D., and Ortonville, Minn., lie within this zone.

Minneapolis should narrowly escape the worst of the blizzard, the city will still be subject to some snow and slick travel Monday night.

This blizzard will be short-lived--in terms of accompanying strong winds, not heavy snow--since the storm will weaken as it heads into central Ontario for the first day of April.

Even though true blizzard conditions will not be met across northeastern Minnesota and central Ontario, heavy snow and reduced visibility are still expected.

Some rain and ice will precede the snow and blizzard in some communities. As temperatures plunge with the developing storm, blizzard conditions will soon follow.

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Howling winds will make measuring the snow very difficult. Winds during the height of the storm will gust to around 45 mph, leading to severe blowing and drifting snow and blinding conditions.

The strong winds around the storm will cause blowing dust in parts of the central Plains.

Travel will be dangerous for a time. Officials may be forced to close lengthy stretches of highways and interstates. Interstates 29, 90 and 94 could be among such roads.

As of noon EDT Monday, the North Dakota Department of Transportation issued a no travel advisory for areas of northeastern, southwestern and north central North Dakota due to reduced visibility from snow and blowing snow.

Motorists attempting to travel during the blizzard run the risk of becoming stranded for a time. Residents should prepare for school and other activities to be canceled.

In the wake of the blizzard, the northern Plains will need to be further monitored for more snow events during April.

The chance for a bit of snow will return Wednesday. If a storm tracks far enough to the north, steadier snow may follow for later in the week.


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