Spring blizzard whips northern Plains

March 24, 2009 1:17:50 PM PDT
An early spring storm system is letting lose punishing winds, heavy snowfall and tornadoes across parts of the northern Plains. Much of South Dakota's roadways have been shut down for a second day after blowing snow cut visibility and piled up in drifts. The storm has dumped as much as 20 inches of snow on much of Wyoming.

The snow is so blinding that the South Dakota Department of Transportation pulled some snowplows off the roads. Highway Patrol Captain Eric Pederson says the drivers "just couldn't see what they were doing."

South Dakota's rugged Black Hills got nearly 2 feet of snow and in Rapid City, a wind gust was clocked at 80 miles an hour.

On the other side of the huge storm, tornadoes have been reported in eastern Nebraska and Iowa. Near Lincoln, emergency officials say five people were hurt and several buildings damaged by a possible twister.

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