Snow buries parts of Rockies, Upper Midwest

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Snow buries parts of Rockies, Upper Midwest
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Typhoon Nuri on 21 August 2008 nearing Hong-Kong in the Western Pacific ocean. True-colour satellite image using MODIS data., Typhoon Nuri, Western Pacific, Asia, On 21/08/2008, True Colour Satellite Image (Photo by Planet Observer/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
CHINA - AUGUST 22: Storm clouds cover the city of Hong Kong, China, on Friday, Aug. 22, 2008. Hong Kong closed its markets and offices as Typhoon Nuri bore down on the city with winds as high as 120 kilometers (75 miles) per hour, prompting the government to warn residents to prepare for a direct hit. (Photo by Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
CHINA - AUGUST 22: Trash is strewn on the ground by winds of an incoming typhoon in Hong Kong, China, on Friday, Aug. 22, 2008. Hong Kong closed its markets and offices as Typhoon Nuri bore down on the city with winds as high as 120 kilometers (75 miles) per hour, prompting the government to warn residents to prepare for a direct hit. (Photo by Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - Heavy snow blanketed parts of the Upper Midwest with more than a foot of snow on Tuesday, leaving residents there and in the Rockies waking up to frigid temperatures that plunged as much as 50 degrees overnight.

The rest of the Midwest and the East are expecting a dose of the icy weather later this week thanks to a powerful storm that hit Alaska with hurricane-force winds over the weekend.

A look at the storm and its effects:

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SNOW, SNOW... AND MORE SNOW

More than 2 feet of snow blanked parts of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, and more was on the way before the front was expected to exit on Wednesday. Northern Wisconsin also got as much as 18 inches of snow, and parts of central Minnesota more than 16.

The onset of winter wasn't enough to convince Joe Meath to flee Minnesota - even though he won nearly $12 million in a state lottery game two months ago. Meath was busy with his small snowplow business, taking care of his customers in his worn Chevy truck with nearly 300,000 miles on it.

"I don't know what I'd be doing if I wasn't doing this today," Meath told KMSP-TV.

Schools canceled classes across the region, including at Northern Michigan University. Multimedia journalism student Mikenzie Frost said she was headed out the door to figure skating practice early Tuesday when she got a text from the school saying it was closed. So, she shifted plans.

"Going to buy a shovel because we don't have one," Frost said. "We're probably the only people in the U.P. (Upper Peninsula) that don't have one."

At least one school found opportunity in the early storm. St. Cloud Cathedral, a seventh- through 12th-grade parochial school in Minnesota, shut its doors when the storm hit Monday but had students log into online classes to complete coursework from home. Cathedral was following other schools nationally who have experimented with online learning to avoid needing make-up days.

"I'll be honest," Principal Lynn Grewing laughed Tuesday. "There has been some grumbling."

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AND THEN THE COLD

In Billings, Montana, where temperatures in the high 60s fell into the single digits, Patsy Kimmel said she'd been warned before arriving to visit family and celebrate her 70th birthday.

"Yesterday I was wearing sandals and a short-sleeve shirt, and today I'm wearing a coat and scarf and turtleneck and sweatshirt and gloves," said Kimmel.

The blast of frigid air sent temperatures plunging as far south as the Texas Panhandle, where balmy 70-degree weather fell into the teens overnight. In Oklahoma City, Monday's high of 80 degrees hit a low of 30 degrees Tuesday morning - a drop of 50 degrees.

And in the Dakotas, single-digit temperatures came with wind chills that made it feel like 20 below in some places. But that was good news for Action Mechanical Inc. of Rapid City, South Dakota, which was doing a booming heating and ventilation business.

"Bang! We get this arctic blast, and it just opens the floodgates," said John Hammond Jr., a department head. "We're behind right now as we're sitting here talking."

In Colorado, temperatures fell into the teens and prompted officials to move a Veteran's Day ceremony indoors in Denver.

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AT LEAST SOME OF THE CATTLE ARE READY

With only a few inches of snow, ranchers in the Dakotas were upbeat about the weather, mindful of intense storms in October 2013 that killed at least 43,000 cattle that hadn't yet developed heavy protective winter coats.

"We've had enough cool weather (this year) that they're haired up like bears," said South Dakota Stockgrowers Association President Bob Fortune, who ranches near Belvidere. "They can take winter now."

Wyoming rancher Ogden Driskill wasn't as confident. He said conditions in his northeastern corner of the state turned cold so abruptly that cattle hadn't yet developed that thick coat. But he said the cold was more of a risk to calves who might sicken than to mature cattle, which were in good condition from a year's good forage.

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DON'T BLAME THE POLAR VORTEX

Meteorologists are adamant that the weather isn't because of the polar vortex, a giant upper air pattern that normally pens in cold air in the Arctic in the winter, but instead pushed in by an entirely different weather phenomenon more related to the remnants of a powerful typhoon.

"The polar vortex itself has not moved south. It's still in the Arctic where it always is," said National Weather Service spokeswoman Susan Buchanan, adding that federal forecasters are calling this a cold snap or cold front.

Still, forecasters warn that the cold will linger. Some regions will go from record warm to record cold in just two days, with temperatures dropping 15 to 20 degrees below normal on the East Coast Friday and Saturday. And freezing temperatures will likely dip as far south as Atlanta on Friday, said Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the Weather Underground.

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TRAVEL WOES

Roads were difficult in northern Michigan. Minnesota reported at least four people killed in accidents on icy roads from the storm, but Tuesday was calmer after the nearly 500 crashes reported on Monday.

Operations were returning to normal at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, with only about 19 flights canceled Tuesday - a day after nearly 200 were scrubbed.

---

Associated Press writers Amy Forliti in Minneapolis; Kevin Burbach and Blake Nicholson in Bismarck, North Dakota; contributed to this report.

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Dogs In Snow
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Snow buries parts of Rockies, Upper Midwest
NOTTINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 21: Freddy the Boston Terrier plays in the snow on January 21, 2013 in Nottingham, United Kingdom. The United Kingdom has suffered a weekend of heavy snowfall with many transport routes affected. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
A German Shepherd puppy experiences snow for the first time during a snowfall January 21, 2014 in Manassas, Virginia. The Washington, DC area and much of the Northeast is under a winter storm warning for Tuesday, with the National Weather Service forecasting 6 to 11 inches of snow by the end of the day. The snow will also come with bitter cold, and the area is also under a wind chill advisory for Tuesday into Wednesday. AFP PHOTO / Karen BLEIER (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 22: English foxhound 'Braxton' wears boots to protect his paws from ice melting chemicals during his morning walk as the temperature hovers in the single-digits Fahrenheit January 22, 2014 in Washington, DC. After four inches of snow fell on some places in the capital area, the federal government delayed the start of the work day by two hours as most schools remained closed. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
A little dog who is blowed by strong wind is watched by a big one during the first snowfall of this year in Bucharest on January 25, 2014. A thick blanket of snow covered Saturday southern and eastern Romania causing the closure of three highways , canceling twenty rail links and disruptions in air traffic. Dozen roads were also closed to traffic Saturday after heavy snowfall since Friday night. . AFP PHOTO DANIEL MIHAILESCU (Photo credit should read DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP/Getty Images)
Two pug dogs are walked in the snow in Travemuende, northern Germany, on March 29, 2013. Meteorologists forecast temperatures around freezing pont for the coming week in Germany. AFP PHOTO / Ole Spata GERMANY OUT (Photo credit should read Ole Spata/AFP/Getty Images)
A Beauce Sheep dog covered by snow is pictured on March 12, 2013 in Godewaersvelde, northern France, after a heavy snow storm. Overnight on March 12 nearly 500 cars were blocked near Cherbourg where snowdrifts piled up 60 centimetres (almost two feet) as winds reached 100 kilometres (more than 60 miles) an hour. Twenty-six regions in northwest and northern France were put on orange alert because of heavy snowfalls, which Meteo France said were 'remarkable for the season because of the expected quantity and length of time'. AFP PHOTO PHILIPPE HUGUEN (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)
ST MORITZ, SWITZERLAND - JANUARY 25: A pug dog is seen during the Polo World Cup on Snow match between team Ralph Lauren and team Cartier on the frozen Lake St Moritz on January 25, 2013 in St Moritz, Switzerland. (Photo by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images)
LAUDER, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 21: Tim Coulson huntmaster and Victoria Walton at the Lauderdale Hunt exercises the hounds in the snow at Scarce Law on January 21, 2012 in Lauder, Scotland. Widespread snowfall is affecting most of the UK with school closures and transport disruption. The Met Office has issued a red weather warning for parts of Wales, advising against all non-essential travel as up to 30cm of snow is expected to fall in some areas today. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
A dog named 'Lucky' runs through the snow on the frozen lake Helenesee near Frankfurt (Oder), eastern Germany, on February 12, 2012. Temperatures remain cold in Germany as the death toll from Europe's big freeze rose past 550. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK PLEUL GERMANY OUT (Photo credit should read PATRICK PLEUL/AFP/Getty Images)
Dogs play in the snow on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk on February 5, 2012. AFP PHOTO/BEN STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)
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