Snow begins to move in ahead of blizzard-like conditions

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP)–Forecasters posted a blizzard warning for parts of the Upper Midwest as a winter storm began to gather steam.

Blowing and drifting snow and whiteout conditions were expected to move in overnight Friday in the Dakotas, Minnesota and Iowa.

In South Dakota and Minnesota, dozens of schools canceled classes Friday ahead of snowfall expected during the day.

A winter storm warning across the region was expected to give way to blizzard-like conditions by Saturday with gusty winds of 50 mph whipping up snow and bringing down power lines and tree branches.

Totals of 5 to 9 inches of snow are expected across much of central and southern Minnesota and western Wisconsin Friday. 

The Watertown area and eastern South Dakota are expecting snow amounts in the 4 to 6 inch range, and wind gusts Saturday in excess of 50 mph.