April blizzard blasts northern Plains; more severe storms likely in central US — ENVIRO360

Wild weather raged across parts of the nation Tuesday, including a blizzard in the Northern Plains and severe storms that threatened the central U.S. 

A combination of heavy snow and strong wind gusts brought blizzard conditions to portions of Montana and North Dakota on Tuesday, the National Weather Service said, thanks to significant blowing and drifting of snow.

Up to 3 feet of snow was possible in some areas before the storm was expected to wind down Wednesday. “Travel will be very difficult to impossible and there is the potential for power outages and tree damage,” the Weather Service said. “Significant impacts to young livestock are also possible.”

The blizzard closed schools, colleges and some government offices in North Dakota.

“This is going to be historic for some areas,” Jason Anglin, lead meteorologist for the National Weather Service’s Bismarck office, told the Bismarck Tribune. “It’s going to be tough to travel, the impact to the ranching community is going to be big, even the impact to the power community – there’s going to be a lot of water in this snow; it could bring down trees and bring down power lines.” The snowstorm could reach record levels in some areas, AccuWeather said. 

Farther south, another day of severe storms was forecast for a large swath of the central U.S., meteorologists warned, after a stormy Monday.

On Monday, possible tornadoes, hail and high winds stretched across much of Arkansas, causing minor structural damage, flash flooding and power failures. Weather and emergency officials said no injuries were reported, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Another explosion of severe weather was expected Tuesday afternoon through Tuesday night from eastern Texas and much of Louisiana northward to southern Minnesota and part of southwestern Wisconsin, AccuWeather said. 

The Storm Prediction Center said: “Scattered severe thunderstorms capable of producing very large hail, damaging winds and tornadoes are expected late this afternoon and tonight across a broad portion of the southern and central Plains into the Mississippi Valley. Some of the tornadoes could be strong.”

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