THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn. - Eighteen inches of fresh snow whipped up by winds of 50 miles per hour might seem like a cruel April Fool's joke, but for residents of northwestern Minnesota it's all too real.
Highway 1 from Warren to the North Dakota border was closed and Marshall County sheriff's officials advised against travel as a semitrailer and two other vehicles were stranded in the middle of the road. Polk County officials pulled snowplows off the roads Monday afternoon as conditions deteriorated for the safety of the drivers.
The National Weather Service reported 18 inches of new snow at Thief River Falls and Warren and 16 inches in Salol in Roseau County.
There is a bit of good news in all this: National Weather Service meteorologists say there wasn't much of a flood threat going into Monday's storm, and the snow that fell didn't have a lot of water in it.
Residents in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota were digging out on Tuesday as major roadways reopened, including large stretches of interstate highways in the Dakotas. Many schools were opening late.
The blizzard set snowfall records in the North Dakota cities of Grand Forks and Bismarck and also a rainfall record in Bismarck that had stood for 137 years.
In Minnesota, a tornado caused damage at three farms in Yellow Medicine County on Monday. No one was hurt.