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Fall snowstorm blasts Rockies, heads toward Minnesota

Winter storm watches and warnings are stretching from eastern Washington state to Minnesota.
Credit: AP
People clear the sidewalk after a fall snowstorm in Helena, Mont., on Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019. The central Rocky Mountain region recieved its first dose of wintry weather. Mountainous areas recently hit by snowfall measured in feet (meters) could get another foot (30 centimeters) or more by Thursday. (AP Photo/Matt Volz)

SPOKANE, Wash. — A fall snowstorm is snarling traffic and causing power outages in the Rocky Mountains as it slowly crawls across the northern U.S. toward the Great Plains and Minnesota. 

Winter storm watches and warnings are stretching from eastern Washington state to Minnesota, along with freeze warnings as far south as Colorado and Nebraska on Wednesday.

In Spokane, more than three inches of wet, heavy snow snapped tree branches and took out power lines. Avista Utilities was restoring power to 32,000 customers Wednesday. Driving conditions are deteriorating across Montana and northern Wyoming as ice and blowing snow covered roadways.

Up to 2 feet of snow is expected to fall in the mountains, and up to a foot in lower-elevation towns and cities.

The storm is expected to bring the first snow of the season to Denver by Thursday, and in Minnesota a slow moving, but sharp cold front will bring midday rain showers. Temps will fall from the 50s into the 40s Friday with rain showers. 

Colder air continues to flow into Minnesota Friday night turning rain showers to a mix of rain and snow. Some parts of far western and northwestern Minnesota could even see some accumulation.