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Published October 27, 2010, 04:42 PM

Snow, Strong Winds Pound Region for 2nd Day

Heavy snow and strong winds battered the Dakotas for a second day early Wednesday, but conditions were improving by midday and fall-like weather was expected to return later this week.

By: Associated Press,

(AP) — Heavy snow and strong winds battered the Dakotas for a second day early Wednesday, but conditions were improving by midday and fall-like weather was expected to return later this week.

Travel was difficult across much of North Dakota, with visibility reduced by blowing snow and roadways covered by ice, snow and slush. State Highway 57 was closed by wind-whipped waves from Devils Lake.

"It's not good to be out here for anybody," Highway Patrol Capt. Eric Pederson said. "It's just tough going anywhere."

There were numerous reports of jackknifed tractor-trailers and other vehicle accidents tying up traffic North Dakota and South Dakota.

The most snow, about 8 inches, was reported in central and west-central North Dakota. Winds in excess of 60 mph caused problems in both states, toppling signs, trees and power lines, leading to scattered power outages.

Both the snow and strong winds were lessening as the day wore on, and the first major snowfall of the season in North Dakota might be short-lived, said Sam Walker, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Bismarck. The state forecast called for temperatures to rise into the 40s and 50s later in the week.

"It looks like we'll warm up during the week and melt most of it," he said. "Though with upwards of 8 inches, it might take some time."

Fargo and Grand Forks were not in the heavy snow area but had record rainfall for the date on Tuesday, with well over an inch, according to the weather service. The Red River in both cities was forecast to rise above flood stage Sunday and cause minor flooding.

When the storm began blanketing the two states on Tuesday, problems ranged from a 140-foot cement block wall being blown down at a Rapid City Central High School construction project to a tractor-trailer spilling a load of soda in the ditch along a major North Dakota highway.

But many residents were prepared for the early blast of winter.

"The weather is not very nice out here," said Linnea Reeves, a Walmart employee in Bismarck. "I've got my snow shovel in my car in case I get stuck."

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