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Blizzard to Close Out March Across the Plains

March will end with a blizzard threatening to halt travel and severely disrupt daily routines across the northern Plains on Monday.

The blizzard will target South Dakota, southern North Dakota and northern and central Minnesota late Sunday night through Monday night.

Rapid City, Pierre and Aberdeen, S.D., Fargo, N.D., and St. Cloud and Duluth, Minn., lie within this zone.

For Rapid City, the blizzard is in the forecast despite the weekend starting with temperatures soaring to around 70 F.

Minneapolis should narrowly escape the worst of the blizzard unless the storm tracks slightly to the south. Even given the current track of the storm, the city will still be subject to a period of windswept snow and slick travel Monday night.

The combination of a storm spreading welcome rain and mountain snow into California this weekend and arctic air plunging southward will cause the blizzard to unfold across the northern Plains.

This blizzard will be short-lived since the storm will weaken as it heads into central Ontario for the first day of April.

Before that weakening trend commences, the blizzard will lay down a large swath of snow with amounts in excess of 6 inches. Some rain will precede the snow in many communities but will not be a sign that the blizzard is failing to materialize.

Howling winds will make measuring the snow very difficult. Winds during the height of the storm will gust to around 45 mph, leading to severe blowing and drifting snow and blinding conditions.

Travel will become extremely dangerous and nearly impossible for a time. Officials may be forced to close lengthy stretches of highways and interstates. Interstates 29, 35, 90 and 94 could be among such roads.

Motorists attempting to travel during the blizzard run the risk of becoming stranded for a time. Residents should prepare for school and other activities to be canceled.

In the wake of the blizzard, the northern Plains will continue to be monitored for more snow events despite the calendar being flipped to April.

The chance for a bit of snow will return Wednesday. If a storm tracks far enough to the north, steadier snow may follow for later in the week.