Major North Dakota highways closed amid fall snowstorm

MINOT, N.D. (AP) - Updated Oct. 11, 11:25 a.m.

Hundreds of miles of major highways in North Dakota have been closed due to what forecasters are calling a crippling fall snowstorm.

Transportation officials shut portions of Interstates 29 and 94 and U.S. Highway 2 on Friday due to severe winter conditions and poor visibility.

The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for northern North Dakota and winter storm warnings and watches elsewhere in the state and into parts of South Dakota and Minnesota through Saturday afternoon. One to 2 feet (0.3 to 0.6 meters) of snow was expected to accumulate with winds gusting up to 65 mph (105 kph).

Dozens of schools in the Dakotas were closed Friday because of deteriorating travel conditions. That follows school closures and travel headaches Thursday in the Great Plains.

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Blizzard conditions have forecasters urging residents in northern North Dakota to travel only in emergencies as strong winds from a powerful fall snowstorm whipped up accumulating snow.

The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for northern North Dakota and winter storm warnings and watches elsewhere in the state and into parts of South Dakota and Minnesota through Saturday afternoon. One (0.3 meter) to 2 feet (0.6 meters) of snow was expected to accumulate with winds gusting up to 65 mph (105 kph).

Dozens of schools in the Dakotas were closed Friday because of deteriorating travel conditions. That follows school closures and travel headaches Thursday in the Great Plains.

Authorities in North Dakota issued a travel alert because heavy snow, reduced visibility and icy roads are creating hazardous driving conditions.

According to the National Weather Service, one reporting station in Bismarck saw 12 inches of snow by 8:30 a.m. Friday. The highest total in South Dakota was in Campbell County near Herreid, which saw 10 inches.

Pierre received around 4 inches as of 8:30 a.m.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)