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Twenty-four hours after it began, a blizzard continues to rage in North Dakota Wednesday as all but five of the roughrider state's 53 counties are in a blizzard warning. 

Winds gusting 50-60 mph on top of 1-2 feet of snow have made travel virtually impossible, with more snow yet to pile up. No-travel advisories and road closures are posted in all of the blizzard-warned counties, leaving only a small area of far southeastern North Dakota open for business, so to speak. 

As of 10:45 a.m., extreme conditions have forced the North Dakota Department of Transportation to close Interstate 94 all the way from Jamestown to the Montana border, and Highway 2 is closed for a 240-mile stretch from Devils Lake to Williston. Highway 83 is also shut down from north of Minot almost all the way south to Bismarck. 


"Travel should be restricted to emergencies only. If you must travel, have a winter survival kit with you. Notify a friend or family member of your travel plans. If you get stranded, stay with your vehicle," the National Weather Service advises. 

The state patrol says plows have been out on the roads but there is "zero visibility" and as soon as the plows clear the roads, "the snow drifts and fills in right behind them."

Another foot or more of snow could fall on top of the 12-20 inches that blanketed most of the state on the first day of the blizzard. The heaviest snow yet to fall will happen in northern North Dakota. 


Snowfall reports Wednesday morning range from 13 inches in Grand Forks to 19 inches in the town of Taylor, located more than 300 miles west of Grand Forks along I-94 in western North Dakota. Dickinson reported 17 inches by Wednesday morning, while Bismarck had a foot and Minot was buried in at least 13 inches of wet concrete-like snow. 

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Snow in eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota will lighten up most of the day Wednesday before redeveloping Wednesday evening. That's when winds will increase again, causing difficult conditions in northwestern Minnesota. 

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Winds will be gusting 40-60 mph all of Wednesday across most of North Dakota, followed by 30-50 mph gusts throughout the day Thursday. Winds should drop to 30 mph or lower on Friday.

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The blizzard warning will expire from southwest to northeast, with the earliest cancellations of the warning happening at 10 p.m. Wednesday. But much of North Dakota will remain in a blizzard warning until 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. Thursday. 

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