Things are pretty much back to normal in the Northern Panhandle after Saturday’s winter storm closed all the highways in the area from Saturday afternoon or early evening until late Sunday morning. The last one didn’t reopen until 1:30 pm.
Snowfall amounts weren’t that high, but winds of 30-to-40 mph with gusts over 50 and 60 mph created blizzard conditions that closed some of the highways and deep drifts that closed the rest.
Multiple reports of accidents, including some with semis, were reported around the region along with a number of vehicles sliding off the pavement.
Many of the reports came from Sheridan County, where a law enforcement vehicle was among those off the roadway.
Other police vehicles helped rescue stranded motorists, either transporting individuals to Hay Springs and Rushville or leading caravans of freed vehicles to the two towns.
The storm was much worse to the north, closing most of Interstate 90 from west of Sturgis into Montana overnight Saturday. Up to 18” of snow was reported in North Dakota and well over a foot in parts of northwest South Dakota.
The blizzard also knocked out power to thousands in the two states, about 1,500 in western North Dakota and over 14,000 in northwest South Dakota with officials warning it would likely take several days to restore service to everyone.