BISMARCK - A winter storm blowing out of the Rockies and into the Northern Plains brought snow to the Dakotas today, with bitter-cold temperatures on its heels.
The snow is expected to continue through much of today for eastern North Dakota and adjacent portions of Minnesota, with the heaviest snowfall - 6 to 9 inches - expected in areas near the North Dakota and South Dakota border, the National Weather Service predicted.
A band of snow stretching from the Devils Lake basin to Valley City, Fargo and Fergus Falls, Minn., will produce 3 to 6 inches by late this afternoon, the weather service predicted. One to 3 inches are expected across the northern Red River Valley.
Winds will increase up to 25 mph by late this afternoon and continue through tonight, causing blowing and drifting snow in open areas, the weather service said.
Interstate 90 between Rapid City and Murdo in South Dakota was closed this morning because of zero visibility that led to backed-up traffic and some crashes. Emergency officials in other areas were advising no travel, and schools in some areas were opening late.
The weather service predicted as much as nine inches of snow in the Upper Midwest, along with strong winds creating stormy or even blizzard conditions.
Forecasters also said temperatures would drop, with wind chills overnight falling to dangerous levels - as low as 50 below zero in North Dakota.