Spring storm blasts N.D.

BISMARCK (AP) – A spring storm carrying heavy snow and high winds spread across North Dakota on Sunday, with up to 18 inches of snow predicted to fall in the south-central part of the state.

Ten inches of snow had fallen by noon Sunday in Bismarck, where snow was falling at the rate of about an inch an hour. The storm was expected to spread north and east before ending sometime today or early Tuesday, the National Weather Service reported. The eastern edge of the state could get up to 7 inches of snow. Minot reported more than six inches of snow from the storm.

“It’s white-out conditions, with visibility down near zero,” National Weather Service meteorologist Lindsay Tardif-Huber of Bismarck said.

“We have a lot of snowdrifts, making travel very treacherous and hazardous,” Tardif-Huber said.

“It’s pretty bad up here, the worst I’ve seen it here this winter, I believe,” she said.

The North Dakota Transportation Department advised no travel in the Dickinson, Bismarck and Jamestown areas Sunday morning because of heavy snow, high winds and snow- and -ice-covered roads. The DOT advised that conditions would deteriorate in southeastern North Dakota as the storm moved east.

In northern South Dakota, a combination of snow, freezing rate and snow was expected to continue until Sunday night, with some areas getting up to 6 inches or more of snow in the north-central and northeastern areas of the state.

In South Dakota, residents of Sioux Falls and surrounding areas continued to recover from a storm that dumped freezing rain and heavy snow in the past week, snapping tree branches and downing power lines.

Xcel Energy said it had restored power to all but about 2,200 customers in eastern South Dakota by Saturday night. Approximately 90,000 customers in the area have been dealing with power outages since the storm hit Tuesday. The company said it expected to complete the restoration of power Sunday except for homes where repairs were needed before service could be reconnected.

More than 420 workers were busy repairing power lines on Saturday. Those included Xcel crews from South Dakota, Minnesota and North Dakota and help from other utilities and contractors from nearby states.

The city of Sioux Falls said cleanup crews were expanding their efforts Sunday to remove fallen tree branches. Crews cleared branches Saturday in the core areas of the city, but were expanding to all emergency and secondary snow routes Sunday.