Thousands without power after spring blizzard in the Dakotas
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A spring blizzard knocked out power to thousands of people across western North Dakota and northwest South Dakota, and utility officials said it will likely take at least several days to restore power to everyone.
The snow, combined with strong winds that gusted up to 60 mph and freezing rain, to create hazardous driving conditions. And the storm knocked down tree limbs and power lines.
More than 14,000 utility customers in North Dakota and another nearly 1,500 in South Dakota lacked power late Sunday afternoon, according to the www.poweroutage.us website. That is down from Sunday morning when more than 17,000 didn’t have electricity in North Dakota.
“As crews have been able to get out to assess damage, we’re finding it’s extensive in some areas,” Montana-Dakotas Utilities spokesman Mark Hanson said to the Bismarck Tribune. “The number of broken crossarms and broken poles is extensive.”
The National Weather Service said more than a foot of snow was reported in places across western North Dakota, including 18 inches near Niobe in the northwest corner of the state.
Interstate 94 between Mandan and the Montana border and numerous other highways in the region were closed Sunday morning, but the major highways reopened by Sunday afternoon. But officials cautioned that road conditions might still be poor.
This latest storm follows a three-day blizzard earlier this month and another storm that dropped more snow on the area a few days later on Easter Sunday.