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Published February 27, 2012, 03:54 PM

Parts of Dakotas Brace For Blizzard This Week

GF, Polk counties in blizzard watch starting Tuesday night
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — As a balmy early winter draws to a close, the Dakotas are bracing for more late-February snow, and forecasters say the expected storm could be the worst of the season in many areas.

By: Associated Press,

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — As a balmy early winter draws to a close, the Dakotas are bracing for more late-February snow, and forecasters say the expected storm could be the worst of the season in many areas.

The National Weather Service has posted a number of watches and warnings for winter storm and blizzard conditions in parts of North Dakota and South Dakota Tuesday into Wednesday. Forecasters say snow totals in North Dakota could range from 3 inches in the northwest to 8 inches in the southeast. As much as 12 inches could fall in northeast South Dakota, and ice could accumulate along the Interstate 90 corridor to the south. Both states are expected to have strong winds, gusting up to 40 mph in some areas.

"It's going to be a very hazardous, dangerous winter storm," weather service meteorologist Chris Janssen told KOKK radio. "We're not expecting any bitterly cold temperatures with it ... but very heavy snow, icy conditions and gusty winds.

"If you get a foot of snow on the ground, it will make it virtually impossible to travel," he said.

Much of the two states got snow on President's Day a week ago, and much of North Dakota was blanketed again Sunday. As much as 10 inches were reported in some areas, causing travel problems and accidents. Highway Patrol Sgt. Josh Rude told The Forum newspaper that there were at least a dozen accidents in southeast North Dakota as well as "countless" vehicles sliding into the ditch. The state Department of Transportation early Monday lifted a travel alert for the central and eastern portions of the state.

"(Monday) is going to be the calm in between the systems," meteorologist Rich Kinney told The Bismarck Tribune newspaper.

The system that will move east out of the Rockies has prompted the first blizzard watch of the winter in some areas.

"Winter's coming back (with) a vengeance," meteorologist Kerry Hanko told The Daily Republic newspaper.

The National Weather Service in Aberdeen, S.D., has north central South Dakota including Pierre and Aberdeen and southeast North Dakota including Jamestown under a blizzard warning until Wednesday evening, with expected snow accumulations of 6 to 12 inches.

The east central South Dakota cities of Huron and Brookings are under a winter storm warning with snow expected to reach 5 to 7 inches. Mitchell and Sioux Falls in South Dakota are under a winter weather advisory, and a wintry mix of ice snow and rain is anticipated.

The Bismarck office of the Weather Service is forecasting accumulations of 4 to 8 inches for the southern and central parts of North Dakota.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.


The blizzard watch is in effect Tuesday night until Wednesday afternoon for the following cities and surrounding areas:

CROOKSTON...EAST GRAND FORKS...HALSTAD...MOORHEAD...THIEF RIVER FALLS...RED LAKE FALLS...FOSSTON...BAGLEY...MAHNOMEN...LAKE ITASCA...PARK RAPIDS...DETROIT LAKES...WOLF LAKE...BRECKENRIDGE...FERGUS FALLS...NEW YORK MILLS...WADENA...ELBOW LAKE...NEW ROCKFORD...LAKOTA...GRAND FORKS...COOPERSTOWN...FINLEY...MAYVILLE...VALLEY CITY...FARGO...LISBON...GWINNER...WAHPETON

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