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Late-March Blizzard Wallops Northern Plains

UPDATED 2:30 PM CDT, March 31, 2014

UPDATED By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Chad Merrill

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Winter has a tight grip on the Northern Plains heading into the first day of April. Snow and wind are walloping the Dakotas today but much improvement is coming by Tuesday.

In addition to the 1 to 4 inches of snow that has coated the Northern Plains, winds are gusting to 50 mph at times, creating whiteout conditions along stretches of Interstates 90 and 94. The snow and blowing snow have closed Interstate 29 from Grand Forks, N.D., to the Canadian border. Travel is not advised across the Dakotas due to the ongoing winter storm.

Blizzard and Winter Storm Warnings stretch across the Dakotas into western Minnesota with Winter Weather Advisories and Warnings in effect from northern Nebraska to Minnesota`s Arrowhead.

While only another inch or two will coat the Dakotas and northern Nebraska, the heavier accumulation will reside across northern Minnesota where places like International Falls could see up to 9 inches by early Tuesday. The northwest winds will remain potent across the Dakotas, leading to reduced visibility and whiteouts through sunrise Tuesday.

The low pressure swirling into Minnesota this afternoon will quickly jet into southern Canada on Tuesday. The snow and wind will wind down across the Dakotas overnight and then northern Minnesota and the western Great Lakes by Tuesday evening.

The snow is nothing new to some parts of the Northern Tier. Pierre, S.D., is on par with average snow so far this calendar year with 28.6 inches of accumulation. Farther north, Bismarck is far below average with 28.2 inches for the year compared with an average of 46.3 inches. On the flip side, International Falls, Minn., has been buried with 91.9 inches since fall began. This is more than 2 feet above average.

Just as the winter storm exits into Canada, a fresh low pressure emerging off the Central Rockies will dive into the Central Plains on Tuesday. Warm air pushing ahead of the low will trigger widely scattered severe thunderstorms in north Texas and along Interstate 70 from eastern Kansas to western Missouri.

Any thunderstorms that form will likely quickly weaken Tuesday evening as temperatures cool.

Be sure to keep WeatherBug active to receive the latest severe weather alerts in your neighborhood and get the latest updates anywhere on Twitter.

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