MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A potent, slow-moving spring storm system that’s expected to persist through the weekend began raking the Plains and Midwest on Friday, bringing blizzard conditions to South Dakota and the threat of tornadoes from Texas and Louisiana north all the way to Iowa.
The huge storm, packing enough energy to cause widespread disruption, isn’t unprecedented for April, said Jake Beitlich, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Chanhassen, Minnesota.
“We do get pretty powerful systems coming throughout the Midwest, and on the cold side we do get snow. And this one is particularly strong. So we do have a lot of moisture with it, and a lot of energy,” Beitlich said. “Over the next 24 hours cold air is going to get wrapped into this system and we’re going to see a band of heavy snow develop from southwestern Minnesota through northern Wisconsin. Also we’re going to have really strong winds, especially in western Minnesota.”
Blizzard warnings stretched from northern Kansas across most of Nebraska and South Dakota into southwestern Minnesota and northeastern Iowa, with winter storm warnings and watches covering most of the rest of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. Heavy snow already blanketed parts of western Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota by early afternoon Friday, closing most roads and highways in western Nebraska — including a 200-mile stretch of cross-country thoroughfare Interstate 80 from North Platte west to the Wyoming border.
Snow, freezing rain and high winds were expected through Saturday night, with heavy ice accumulations in parts of Michigan through Sunday morning.
A swath of southern Minnesota including Minneapolis though northern Wisconsin was expected to get 8 to 12 inches of snow or more. Parts of Nebraska could get up to 14 inches, with