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Blizzard looms as vast storm seizes West

Conner May, 13, of Salt Lake City catches some air Wednesday. A strong storm system brought snow and ice to a wide swath of the West.

Associated Press

Conner May, 13, of Salt Lake City catches some air Wednesday. A strong storm system brought snow and ice to a wide swath of the West.

BISMARCK, N.D. — A powerful storm that pummeled much of the West is promising to bring its chaotic mix of snow, sleet and ice to much of the Dakotas on Thanksgiving Day.

The system closed roads and delayed flights from Anchorage to Salt Lake City on some of the busiest travel days of the year.

Meteorologists warned residents in the Dakotas to expect a range of messy wintery weather, from freezing drizzle in the eastern two-thirds of South Dakota to a possible blizzard in eastern North Dakota.

"Like the Boy Scouts, you've got to be prepared for a North Dakota winter or you're asking for your own problems," said Gerald Miller, 52, who plowed roads on his farm just east of Bismarck on Wednesday.

Blowing snow was likely to cause problems for holiday travelers even in areas not expected to get significant amounts.

"We have snow on the ground in many areas, and any snow on top of that will combine for the potential to blow around, reduce visibility and drift, and cause problems for people trying to drive," meteorologist Jeff Savadel said.

In South Dakota, truckers carefully navigated icy roads, with snow expected later in the day.

In Iowa, at least three people died in weather-related crashes as freezing rain and drizzle left roads with a light glaze.

The storm system buried Seattle in snow, causing at least three deaths, and shut down highways for a time in Idaho, Wyoming and Utah. It also brought high winds on Wednesday to New Mexico and northern Arizona.

The roads were less chaotic in Utah on Wednesday. On Tuesday night, there were 118 traffic collisions and 119 vehicles that slid off the road, police said.

Blizzard looms as vast storm seizes West 11/24/10 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 1:24pm]
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