Travel is nearly impossible Sunday in eastern North Dakota and parts of northwestern Minnesota as a powerful snowstorm has dumped heavy snow, with . strong winds causing blowing and drifting extremes.
North Dakota High Patrol (NDHP) has closed Interstate 94 in both directions from Bismarck to Fargo, along with Interstate 29 shut down in both directions from the Canadian border all the way to the South Dakota border.
"Weather conditions continue to deteriorate. Don’t try using our secondary roads, they are in worse shape. Stay home, stay alive," NDHP said.
The North Dakota Department of Transportation added: "Motorists are not allowed to travel on a closed road due to life threatening conditions. The road may be impassible or blocked."
Travel is not advised in parts of northwest Minnesota, from approximately Grand Forks southward towards Wahpeton.
Blizzard warnings are in place as another 6-12 inches of snow will fall between 6 a.m. Sunday and 6 a.m. Monday in eastern North Dakota and northwest Minnesota, according to the National Weather Service.
"Today is when the main storm arrives as it moves north into central Minnesota by late this afternoon and stalls out tonight. Snow, heavy at times will continue over the central and southern Red River valley and southeastern North Dakota with snow spreading north into the Lake of the Woods region," the weather service said Sunday morning.
"Snowfall will be heaviest mid morning thru this evening and winds will increase from the north over eastern North Dakota with white out conditions at times during times of heaviest snowfall."
Blizzard warnings – heavy snow and powerful winds gusting to 45 mph – are in effect through 6 a.m. in the following counties:
- Minnesota: West Polk, Norman, Clay, Wilkin
- North Dakota: Grand Forks, Griggs, Steele, Traill, Barnes, Cass, Ransom, Sargent, Richland, Stutsman, Logan, La Moure, McIntosh, Dickey
Further east into Minnesota, freezing rain is expected to mix with snow from Bemidji southward into west-central Minnesota, including the cities of Detroit Lakes, Park Rapids, Wadena and Fergus Falls.
"Icing in this area may be enough to cause power outages. Light snow will linger into Monday, with additional accumulations possible especially in north central and central Minnesota. Travel will be difficult," the weather service said.
The storm will stop pounding the Dakotas and western Minnesota on Monday, which is when eastern areas of Minnesota, including the Twin Cities, will pick up accumulating snow.