First Blizzard and Winter Storm Warnings Issued for Upper Mid-Western United States


The National Weather Service (NWS) issued its first Winter Storm and Blizzard Warnings for parts of the upper mid-west this fall, warning people in in Montana, the Dakotas, and Northern Minnesota that travel could become hazardous as the first blizzard of the 2022-2023 season drops more than a foot of snow across the region creating whiteout conditions due to high winds.

“‘This will be the first major snowstorm of the season for the northern Plains and the combination of heavy snow, powerful winds and low visibility will result in hazardous travel,’ AccuWeather senior meteorologist Brian Wimer told USA Today.

“Significant snowfall accumulations will be possible in some areas, and strong gusty winds combined with heavy snow could produce blizzard conditions across the Dakotas,” warned the NWS.  [As a result] travel should be restricted to emergencies only. If you must travel, have a winter survival kit with you [and] [n]otify a friend or family member of your travel plans. If you get stranded, stay with your vehicle.”

The NWS’s warnings were borne out on November 10, when as the Bismarck Tribune reported, “freezing rain that preceded the storm late Wednesday led to a pileup on Interstate 94 at Jamestown that involved multiple vehicles and resulted in numerous injuries.”

To reduce traffic and keep the public safe numerous state and local governments closed their offices. The state capital was among the government offices closed due to the hazardous winter conditions.

The NWS’s “Blizzard Warning,” extended to North Western Minnesota, while a less critical but still dangerous “Winter Storm Warning,” was issued for areas ranging from Western Montana, down to northern South Dakota, stretching east to central and north eastern Minnesota. The NWS issued a “Freeze Warning” for adjacent regions.

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