BISMARCK, N.D. – More than a foot of blowing snow closed major highways on the northwestern Plains on Wednesday, caused widespread power outages and was blamed for at least three deaths.
The deaths were in a three-vehicle crash on an icy North Dakota highway amid blowing sleet and snow, state police said.
Sundance, Wyo., reported 13 inches of snow by midmorning with wind gusting to 60 mph, and an additional 1 to 3 inches was forecast. A foot of snow had fallen at Bowman, in North Dakota's southwest corner, and more was falling Wednesday morning, the National Weather Service said.
"I wish I was in Hawaii," said Bowman County Sheriff Rory Teigen.
Some towns in western North Dakota could be without electricity for another day, said the Mountrail-Williams County Electric Cooperative.
Authorities closed about 100 miles of Interstate 94 during the night from Glendive, Mont., to Dickinson, N.D., although the North Dakota portion was reopened Wednesday morning. A stretch of about 140 miles of I-90 was shut down from Gillette, Wyo., to Rapid City, S.D.
I-90 had icy pavement, zero visibility and trucks blocking parts of the road, said South Dakota Highway Patrol Capt. Greg Ingemunson.
Up to 10 inches of snow was reported in parts of South Dakota's Black Hills, and the weather service said parts of western North Dakota could get up to a foot. Wind gusts as high as 71 mph were reported in eastern Montana, the weather service said.
Some parts of the region got rain, with 1.76 inches Tuesday at Rhame, N.D., the weather service said. The rain was expected to move into parts of northeastern North Dakota still experiencing flooding along tributaries of the Red River. The weather service said the rain was unlikely to have a major effect on the flooding.