Brutal holiday blizzard wreaks havoc across northern U.S.

A nasty winter storm is sweeping the northern United States, leaving thousands of people without power and forcing closures on vast stretches of highways.

Freezing rains, white-out conditions and howling winds whipped across the northern Great Plains and upper Midwest on Sunday evening and into Monday morning.

Parts of northern New England are expected to face a combination of snow, sleet and freezing rains come Monday evening that could turn roads into slippery ice sheets and knock out power throughout the region, the National Weather Service warned.

Officials had issued no-travel warnings for much of the Dakotas as blizzard conditions created near-zero visibility on some roads.

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Hundreds of miles of highways and interstates were closed Monday due to the dangerous conditions.

"Between the ice and snow, and winds howling like crazy, there will be nothing moving" until late afternoon Monday, Greg Gust, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Grand Forks, North Dakota, told the Associated Press.

His advice to travelers: "Stay put."

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