MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Upper Midwest residents longing for spring are facing another spell of wintry weather.
Forecasters expect a storm to dump up to a foot of snow on parts of Minnesota and South Dakota this weekend.
Brookings County is part of a Blizzard Warning from 7 p.m. Friday to 7 p.m. Saturday, and many Saturday events throughout the community have been postponed or cancelled.
This weekend’s Hillcrest Elementary fundraising carnival Hillfest has been postponed for two weeks and is now scheduled for 10 a.m.-2 p.m. April 28.
Brookings High School actors have changed their schedule for “The Hobbit” as well. The only remaining performance is at 4 p.m. Sunday. The Friday and Saturday shows have been cancelled.
One school in southeastern South Dakota moved up its prom by a day to try to beat the storm. The Argus Leader reports Brandon Valley High School rescheduled the dance from Saturday to Friday night.
“It was kind of funny,” senior Grace Bennett said of the last-minute switch to avoid a prom night snowstorm. “’You never know with this South Dakota weather what’s going to happen.”
Blizzard conditions have shut down a long stretch of interstate in South Dakota and have caused Gov. Dennis Daugaard to close state government offices in nearly half of the counties.
The Department of Transportation says heavy snow and strong winds have made travel on Interstate 90 treacherous Friday. The interstate was closed from Rapid City to Murdo, a stretch of about 135 miles.
Also, dozens of school districts canceled classes Friday because of a blizzard warning that covers much of the state, where snow accumulation is expected to be 12 to 16 inches.
Transportation officials say more interstate closures and no travel advisories are expected as the storm system moves through the state.
The National Weather Service in Duluth, Minnesota, issued a gale watch Friday evening through late Saturday night for high winds expected on western Lake Superior. Winds could gust up to 52 mph, and waves could swell to 14 feet.
A vast swath of the Upper Midwest and Plains states, stretching from western South Dakota to western Wisconsin and reaching into Nebraska, is under blizzard or winter storm warnings or a winter storm watch. Forecasters say parts of Minnesota could see strong, gusty winds of up to 50 mph (80 kilometers per hour), while some areas of Nebraska near the South Dakota border could receive up to 17 inches (43 centimeters) of snow.
Meteorologist Michelle Margraf at the Twin Cities weather service said rain Friday over southern Minnesota is expected to change to snow as temperatures drop. Snow should taper off by late Saturday morning, she said.
Margraf said the central U.S. is stuck in a cold pattern due to high pressure sitting just off the East Coast.
And while the unseasonable cold probably will linger another two weeks, Margraf said, the April sun has more power to melt snow – if the sun comes out.