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A pedestrian crosses the street in the snow, Monday, March 31, 2014, in Bismarck, N.D. Schools and universities across the Dakotas are closing and no travel is advised because of a spring snowstorm on Monday. / Tom Stromme, AP

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A spring snowstorm in the Upper Midwest is shutting down schools and government offices, making travel hazardous for motorists and life miserable for cattle ranchers in the midst of calving season.

The National Weather Service has issued blizzard warnings for much of the Dakotas and part of Minnesota, with snow amounts of up to 20 inches possible.

In South Dakota, no travel is advised in the northwestern corner of the state, and motorists in other areas are advised to use caution due to the storm. Some schools in the region are starting late or canceling classes, and Gov. Dennis Daugaard has closed state offices in nine western counties.

Forecasters say snowfall amounts could reach a foot in parts of the state, and winds gusting to 50 mph will blow the snow around. Rain and sleet before the snow could create icy conditions in the northeast. South Dakota state transportation secretary Darin Bergquist says travel will be difficult if not impossible.

Meteorologist Michael Mathews in Bismarck says it's not uncommon for a blizzard to hit the region this time of year - though he says the snow is lighter and fluffier than snow associated with many spring storms.

That's good news for ranchers with newborn calves. South Dakota Stockgrowers Association Executive Director Silvia Christen says she doesn't expect a repeat of an early October blizzard that killed tens of thousands of animals.



Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Read the original story: Spring blizzard pummels the Upper Midwest

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