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The Latest: Nearly a foot of snow in western Minnesota

December 27, 2018
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A bright red nose adds a festive touch to a snowman under construction by children after a fresh snowfall Thursday, Dec. 27, 2018, in St. Cloud, Minn. (Dave Schwarz/The St. Cloud Times via AP)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Latest on the powerful storm whipping up blizzard conditions in Upper Midwest (all times local):

4 p.m.

A winter storm has dumped nearly a foot of snow in western Minnesota as it sweeps across the Upper Midwest.

National Weather Service meteorologist Tyler Hasenstein (HAH’-sehn-styne) says around 10.5 to 11 inches of snow had fallen in the Moorhead-Alexandria area by mid-afternoon Thursday, and it’s still snowing.

Hasenstein says the snow breaks just northwest of the Twin Cities around Elk River. He says snowfall peaked around 3 inches at the Minneapolis airport, then rain early Thursday melted the snowpack.

The weather service reports 10 inches of snow north of Martin, North Dakota, as of late Thursday morning. Blustery winds are causing blizzard conditions in Jamestown, North Dakota, and in northern South Dakota, where the state Department of Transportation reports visibility is down to a quarter-mile from Leola to Britton on Highway 10.

The storm is expected to weaken during Thursday night into Friday morning.

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2 p.m.

Bus service for Fargo, North Dakota, and neighboring Moorhead, Minnesota, is being suspended due to worsening road conditions as a winter storm pushes through the Upper Midwest.

MATBUS says it will suspend fixed route bus service starting at 2:15 p.m. Thursday. Buses will stop service wherever they are on the routes and return to the bus garage.

The Ground Transportation Center in Fargo also is closing. Paratransit, a service for people with disabilities, suspended service at noon.

Service is expected to resume Friday with a normal schedule.

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11:10 a.m.

Minnesota transportation officials say road conditions across much of the central and northern areas of the state are completely covered with ice and snow, with windy conditions causing even more travel issues. MnDOT says it might be better to wait for conditions to improve if travel isn’t necessary.

The National Weather Service says 10 inches of snow has fallen so far near Silver Bay on Minnesota’s north shore.

The weather service in Sioux Falls, South Dakota says rain is changing over to snow from west to east Thursday with heavy snow and gusty winds through Friday. North winds of 25 mph to 35 mph are expected with gusts of 45 mph. Travelers are expected to deal with low visibility and near white-out conditions.

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7:45 a.m.

University campuses, courthouses and municipal buildings are among places closed Thursday as a powerful winter storm moves through parts of the Upper Midwest.

The University of North Dakota has closed its campus in Grand Forks, as has the Bismarck State Colleges offices. The Grand Forks County Courthouse and county and city offices are also closed.

The National Weather Service issued blizzard warnings for central South Dakota, eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota. The storm was expected to drop more than a foot of snow in the region before ending Friday.

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6:07 a.m.

Forecasters posted a blizzard warning for parts of the Dakotas and Minnesota as a major winter storm delivered heavy snow and gusty winds to the region.

The powerful storm is making travel difficult Thursday with motorists on the move during this holiday week. The National Weather Service issued blizzard warnings for central South Dakota, eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota. The storm was expected to drop more than a foot of snow in the region before ending Friday.

The Minnesota State Patrol tweeted that road conditions are poor across much of western Minnesota. The North Dakota Highway Patrol issued a travel alert for all state highways due to whiteout conditions.

Eastern North Dakota is expected to deal with winds gusting up to 50 mph, creating blizzard conditions mainly in the Red River Valley.

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