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Storm Hits Midwest; Plows Ordered Off Minn. Roads

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Heavy snow and strong winds have created blizzard conditions in parts of South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota as a winter storm barrels through the Upper Midwest.

The storm started Friday in the Rocky Mountains and moved into northern Nebraska and Iowa, southeastern South Dakota and southwestern Minnesota after midnight, the National Weather Service said. It's expected to spread east into Minnesota's Twin Cities and western Wisconsin later Saturday.

Strong north to northwest winds of 25 to 35 miles per hour, with gusts up to 50 miles per hour, have near whiteout conditions on many roads in eastern South Dakota, northwest Iowa and southwest Minnesota, the weather service said.

In Minnesota, transportation officials pulled plows off roads in open areas and told drivers to stay home because of worsening weather in the southern part of the state.

"We may even have road closures today. With this type of a storm, it's a blanket approach, because it's a visibility issue," Minnesota Department of Transportation spokeswoman Rebecca Arndt said. "Plows were pulled off the roads early Saturday because of visibility in the southwest and south-central."

Between 8 and 18 inches of snow are expected, with the heaviest snowfall stretching from near Hutchinson and Mankato to the Twin Cities.

Up to 10 inches of snow was expected in northern Iowa, and 5 to 8 inches forecast in eastern South Dakota.

The snow was expected to be followed by dangerously cold temperatures. Nearly all of North Dakota was covered by a wind chill advisory Saturday morning. North winds of up to 15 miles per hour were expected to combine with air temperatures at or below zero to drop wind chill readings to between 20 below zero and 30 below zero, the weather service said.

The wind chill advisory was in effect until noon in North Dakota. Then the arctic air was expected to move east, with lows below zero in the Dakotas and parts of Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin on Sunday night.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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