Deadly accident reported on I-70 as blizzard blasts north-central US
By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
December 28, 2018, 5:40:27 AM EST
At least one fatality has been reported as a major snowstorm continues to whip the northern Plains and Upper Midwest.
The combination of increasing wind and the dry, powdery nature of the snow created blizzard conditions at times from western Kansas to central Nebraska during Thursday. Gusts near 60 mph occurred in western Kansas and central Nebraska on Thursday morning.
One fatality was reported by emergency managers near Grinnell, Kansas, after multiple accidents on Interstate 70. Blizzard conditions and icy roads were present at the time of the fatal accident.
We know its tough to tell given some of the drifts are about 3 feet tall - however we're going to call it 8.3 inches of snow since it started snowing Wednesday. Peak wind at Aberdeen was 50mph #sdwx pic.twitter.com/fl9DmL0SWR— NWS Aberdeen (@NWSAberdeen) December 28, 2018
These conditions are forecast to spread northeastward into Friday morning over northern and central Minnesota, while snow winds down in Nebraska and the Dakotas.
Areas from northeastern South Dakota to southeastern North Dakota and northern Minnesota are expected to receive a storm total of 12-18 inches of snow.
Even after the snow tapers off, the strong winds and cold air will cause snow on the ground to continue to blow and drift.
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Sustained winds of 15-30 mph with gusts ranging between 40 and 60 mph are anticipated in part of the ongoing and recent snowfall area.
Crosswinds to 60 mph can tip over trucks and campers.
Due to the whiteouts, motorists may have difficulty ascertaining what is the road surface versus non-paved areas along portions of interstates 29, 90 and 94. Expect extensive blowing and drifting of snow. Drifts may reach 6 feet deep or more in open areas.
Download the free AccuWeather app to see what conditions are in store for your area.
Anyone who absolutely must travel through these areas during the storm should make sure their vehicle is equipped for an emergency by keeping blankets, flashlights, food, water and medicine handy. There is an elevated risk of becoming stranded for an extended period in this storm.
Staying off the roads during the storm is not only the safest option but will also allow snow removal crews to work as efficiently as possible.
Temperatures are forecast to plunge as the storm progresses in the heavy snow area on north and west. Actual temperatures will fall into the 20s, teens and single digits in some areas. However, AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures will plunge to life-threatening levels (below zero) in many cases.
"Plunging temperatures on the back side of the storm can also cause wet or slushy areas to freeze and further make conditions slippery and treacherous for motorists and those traveling by foot," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski.
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