Winter storm closes schools, highways in Upper Midwest

February 8, 2019
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Tom Hosek, left, the custodian for Trinity Lutheran Church, and volunteer helper Sam Bellefeulle clears the sidewalk on church property in Stillwater, Minn. on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. (Jean Pieri/Pioneer Press via AP)

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A wintry mix of snow, sleet and gusty winds caused power outages and forced the closure of schools and interstate highways Thursday in parts of the Upper Midwest.

In North Dakota, Grand Fork and Cass county courthouses and offices closed Thursday as well as North Dakota State University and dozens of other schools.

Snowplows were pulled from highways in eastern North Dakota on Thursday evening, but are expected to resume plowing early Friday, state transportation officials said.

A foot of snow has fallen in Fargo, the National Weather Service reported. In western Minnesota, Ada has received 11 inches (27.9 centimeters) while Mahnomen reports 8 inches (20 centimeters). In north-central South Dakota, Eureka reportedjust over 10 inches (25 centimeters).

The North Dakota Department of Transportation has closed sections of interstates and highways because of blizzard conditions that are making parts impassable. Interstate 29 northbound and southbound from Fargo to Grand Forks are closed.

Interstate 94 eastbound lanes from Jamestown to Fargo and I-94 westbound lanes from Fargo to Valley City are shut down as well. Highway 13 from I-29 to Wahpeton is closed in both directions.

Motorists who disobey a road closure may be fined up to $250.

The Highway Patrol has advised against travel in eastern North Dakota due to heavy snow and blowing snow, which is creating near zero visibility and hazardous driving conditions.

The MATBUS public bus system serving Fargo, North Dakota and Moorhead, Minnesota pulled its vehicles off the road Thursday around noon due to deteriorating travel conditions.

The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for the eastern edges of the Dakotas and western Minnesota. That region was bracing for up to a foot of snow and wind chills as low as minus 40 (negative 40 Celsius).

In Wisconsin, freezing rain and snow snarled the morning commute, closed schools and left 5,300 We Energies customers without power.

Minneapolis declared a snow emergency, triggering parking rules so plows can clear the streets.

Update hourly