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Christmas Day storms bring blizzard conditions to Plains and Midwest

Parts of the Midwest, including southern Minnesota, experienced blizzard conditions in 2016.
Jim Mone
Parts of the Midwest, including southern Minnesota, experienced blizzard conditions in 2016.

Updated December 25, 2023 at 12:08 PM ET

Flight cancellations started ticking up as a significant winter storm hit parts of the Northern and Central Plains regions and the Upper Midwest with freezing rain, heavy snow and powerful wind gusts.

But as of late morning, the overall number of flights delayed and cancelled remained lower than last year, but the storm system is also creating dangerous travel conditions on the roads.

Blizzard warnings are in effect for South Dakota and Nebraska, where heavy snow is expected throughout the day.

Nebraska's Department of Transportation issued a warning Monday morning, asking people to stay off the roads throughout the state.

There's a high chance south-central and central South Dakota will get at least a foot of snowfall, according to the National Weather Service. Most of the state, as well as Nebraska and Kansas, are likely to see more than 4 inches of snow.

Some areas are bracing for a deluge, like Sioux Falls, S.D., where 12 to 18 inches of snow are expected to fall.

And in neighboring Minnesota, ice and freezing rain are expected to hit the southwest regions of the state. The state's Department of Transportationwarns that some roads in the area are completely covered with snow, while others are covered with ice or slush.

The National Weather Service also warned that isolated power outages are possible in the region.

In addition to snow-covered roads and whiteout conditions, winds with up to 55 mph gusts could bring down tree branches, and powerlines could snarl travelers.

As of late Monday morning, over 1,200 flights coming into or departing the were delayed, with more than 130 cancellations, according to the flight tracking website FlightAware.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

D. Parvaz
D. Parvaz is an editor at Weekend Edition. Prior to joining NPR, she worked at several news organizations covering wildfires, riots, earthquakes, a nuclear meltdown, elections, political upheaval and refugee crises in several countries.