Eastern Dakotas, Minnesota dig out from powerful weekend storm

FARGO, N.D. (AP) – Most residents in the eastern Dakotas and western Minnesota opted to stay indoors while high winds at the back of a powerful winter storm created blowing snow that shut down highways, closed businesses and postponed events.

A blizzard warning remained in effect until Saturday evening for the eastern Dakotas, western Minnesota and western Iowa.

The National Weather Service says while snowfall totals in most areas were below 5 inches, wind gusts up to 55 mph was reducing visibility to near-zero and making travel impossible.

Winds gusted to 45 miles per hour in Watertown on Friday, 50 miles per hour on Saturday, and 29 miles per hour Sunday. 

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem ordered state government executive branch offices in 42 counties to close early on Friday.