Historic April blizzard dropping record snow amounts, knocking out power

A spring snowstorm that pummeled Colorado and Wyoming before sweeping into the Plains is now moving into Great Lakes states, where it’s already setting records.

Winter storm warnings are posted for northern Wisconsin and Michigan, which could see heavy snow, strong winds, sleet and freezing rain. The National Weather Service reports that daily snowfall records have already fallen in La Crosse, Wausau and Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Weather service meteorologist Steven Fleegel says as much as 25 inches of snow has been reported in northeastern South Dakota, and it will continue to snow into Friday.

The weather service says the threat of severe weather will shift this weekend to southern states including Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas. Threats include damaging winds, large hail and tornadoes.

The blizzard has knocked out electricity to tens of thousands of people in the Northern Plains.
According to PowerOutage.us, 14,000 people and businesses are without power in Minnesota and the same number in South Dakota. Another 8,500 are in the dark in Iowa.

Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy spokesman Matt Lindstrom says the main culprit of Thursday’s outages is snow and ice accumulating on power lines, combined with strong winds.

Blizzard conditions in the region are expected to linger into early Friday. Lindstrom says crews are out working to restore power, and they’re used to dealing with bad weather conditions.

The blizzard is part of a storm system known as a “bomb cyclone” that’s slowly churning through the central U.S. for the second time in a month.