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.RELATED: Here are a few must-have items to help fight the cold weather:
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."
A few road cams showing the terrible travel conditions. From left to right: Cavalier, Drayton and New Rockford. pic.twitter.com/1qqS0Dtwgh
— Tom Szymanski (@tallweatherguy) December 6, 2016
North Dakota's transportation department closed most of a 240-mile stretch of Interstate 94 from the Montana border to Jamestown. The weather service office in Bismarck predicted 8 to 15 inches of snow would pile up in western parts of the state.
The South Dakota city of Aberdeen was under a flash flood warning after rain and snowmelt flooded the city's major intersections. Authorities in the state closed a 260-mile section of Interstate 90 from the Wyoming border to Chamberlain.
Fierce winds also wreaked havoc on the region.
Wind gusts between 50 and 70 miles per hour were recorded early Monday from central South Dakota to western Minnesota, AccuWeather reported.
The South Dakota Rural Electric Association said more than 10,200 of its customers were without power Monday morning.
Hundreds more people lost power in Nebraska and western Iowa.
Associate Press contributed reporting.