Crippling blizzard brings whiteout conditions as major winter storm barrels through northern Plains

The major winter storm is shutting down highways and threatening power outages as part of the same coast-to-coast storm system bringing a multi-day severe weather outbreak to the South.

A major winter storm is barreling through the North as Blizzard Warnings stretch into their second day Wednesday across eastern Wyoming, western South Dakota, western Nebraska and a sliver of southeastern Montana.

Along the storm's path, highways have closed as power outages soar, coinciding with the same coast-to-coast system bringing a multi-day severe weather outbreak to the South.

Scenes like this jackknifed truck east of Highway 44 near Scenic, South Dakota, were common sights in the region Tuesday.

The largest concerns with the storm are significant icing, and blizzard conditions bringing in feet of snow and wind gusts of up to 60 miles per hour leading to near-whiteout conditions.

Schools in Fargo, North Dakota, canceled all after school activities in advance of the accumulating snow.

"What we've seen are reports up to eight and a half inches (of snow), primarily in the southern part of the state. But what we're getting is a lot of really wet snow. And underneath that, we have some freezing rain that's really impacted travel both on our highways and in the air," Darin Hanson, North Dakota Director of Emergency Services, told FOX Weather. "We've got a travel alert covering virtually the entire state right now." 

Photos from highway cameras on Tuesday in Nebraska and South Dakota showed near whiteout conditions amid snow covered roadways.

In western Nebraska, portions of Interstate 80 and Interstate 76 were closed, according to the Nebraska Department of Transportation, with highway closures spreading east with the snowfall. 


In South Dakota, transportation officials closed both eastbound and westbound lanes of Interstate 90 from Chamberlain to the Wyoming state line due to freezing rain, heavy snow and high winds. Some secondary highways were also impassable, the agency said.

One trooper in South Dakota showed off nearly 1-inch thick ice covering his patrol car’s antenna.


Cattle braves the 50 mph wind gusts near Scenic, South Dakota, with temperatures in the teens and the wind, the temperature feels like 3 degrees below 0.

Some ranchers woke up early to drive their cattle to safety before the blizzard hit.

Only the storm chasers risked the road in Brush, Colorado, where the National Weather Service issued a Blizzard Warning until midnight.

Even after the Blizzard Warning expires, the Plains will be dealing with this storm for almost 2 days.

"As we look into the next 24 hours and into Thursday morning, we're looking at a round two of snow and that's going to be another heavy, wet snow," said Hanson of North Dakota. "Winds are going to pick up. That's going to make travel even worse. And where we're at right now is a lot of the local snow plows have had to pull off the roads for their own safety."

Download the FOX Weather app for alerts, watches or warnings issued for your area. The free FOX Weather livestream is also available 24/7 on the website and app and on your favorite streaming platform. The FOX Weather Update podcast also provides weather information for the entire country.