Imagery shows heavy snow, significant icing as blizzard continues to blast Plains

Blizzard Warnings stretch into their second day Wednesday across eastern Wyoming, western South Dakota, western Nebraska and a sliver of southeastern Montana.

A crippling blizzard is still blasting the northern Plains and Midwest with snow and ice, snarling traffic and leading to multiple crashes. 

For example, troopers from the Minnesota State Patrol responded to 17 crashes, an additional 20 other vehicles that slid off the road and 4 jackknifed semi-trucks between December 13 at 12p.m. to December 14 at 6 a.m. Central Time.

Blizzard Warnings stretch into their second day Wednesday across a sliver of southeastern Montana, western South Dakota, western Nebraska and eastern Wyoming.

Frequent and widespread wind gusts of 50 to 60 mph or more have blown across the area amid periods of heavy snow – some pockets with snowfall rates of an inch or more per hour – and have led to several hours of near-whiteout or whiteout conditions. 

The National Weather Service in Duluth, Minnesota, said it would go down as a verified blizzard in the record books at the Duluth International Airport – three hours of quarter-mile visibility or less in the snow with winds frequently gusting over 35 mph.

"Even got some thundersnow in there for added effect," the weather office said.

By 8:50 a.m. Wednesday, up to 6.3 inches of snow had fallen at the Duluth weather office.

Becky Lange filmed this footage in Sandstone, southwest of Duluth, on Wednesday morning. She said the heavy snow was breaking tree branches in her area.

As the storm continues to move slowly east across the northern Plains away from Colorado, the NWS said snowfall will be very limited, but strong winds will continue, especially across the northeastern Plains. 

The winds will continue to produce blowing and drifting snow. The worst conditions will be from Sterling in northeast Colorado and Akron eastward, while conditions should gradually improve west of Fort Morgan and Limon. 

Twitter user @TractorNinja filmed a video just south of Sterling as the sun began to rise, showing blowing snow with poor visibility.

Authorities in South Dakota urged residents to stay home as heavy snow made roads "impassable," and forecasts showed worsening conditions.

Video from the Spearfish Police Department showed road conditions as of 4 a.m. Wednesday, as blizzard conditions continue into the evening. As of 8 a.m., the police department said travel was still restricted and will likely remain as such through the day. 

"While some primary and a secondary routes are passable, this is only for emergency vehicles and snow removal vehicles," police said on Facebook. "The general public is still prohibited from travel within the city of Spearfish. Garbage pick up will not happen today and may be impacted tomorrow and Friday."