Coupled with forecasts for winds of hip to 65 miles per hour, the weather service said the storm would create blizzard conditions throughout the region.
The massive blizzard that struck Colorado Wednesday is finally over.
Watches, warnings and advisories for the storm cover about 1.5 million square miles, which is roughly half of the area of the continental U.S. - and they stretch from the Mexican border to the Canadian border. Heavy snow is expected in portions of the Rockies and northern Plains, including Denver into Thursday.
The blizzard has exited Colorado but Blizzard Warnings remain in place for the eastern Plains of Colorado until noon on Thursday.
About 50 National Guard soldiers and airmen used specialized vehicles with tank-like treads to rescue 75 people stranded in their cars during the storm.
Heavy rain caused flooding in eastern parts of both states, as well as in Iowa.
Officially Denver International Airport only picked up 7.1 inches of snow, but blowing and drifting contributed to the disaster that unfolded on area highways Wednesday afternoon.
Blizzard, fierce winds expected to clobber US Plains states
The NWS said while the storm will gradually weaken over the next few days, strong winds will continue before "a taste of spring temperatures" will be felt sometime Friday. Meanwhile, hundreds of flights were canceled at Denver International Airport, and almost 40 were grounded in Colorado Springs.
"We've got a lot of water, and it's got to find a way to get out of here", said Tracy West, mayor of Lennox, South Dakota.
High winds knocked 25 railroad freight cars off a bridge into a mostly dry riverbed near Logan in northeast New Mexico. The southern part of the state as well as the Western Slope are now under winter storm warnings, as meteorologists predict that the storm will result in risky conditions. The highest wind gust was at Colorado Springs airport of a whopping 97 miles per hour. No injuries were reported from the incident. All runways were closed Wednesday because of icy conditions and extremely poor visibility caused by the intense storm, the airport said on Twitter. "The gusty winds and severe threat move north and east toward the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes on Thursday", Sitkowski said.
Significant weather was impacting the central United States Wednesday and was expected to bring travel to a stop in some areas it would be so severe.
Government workers in Denver, Wyoming and South Dakota were told to stay home and many colleges also closed their campuses. "The central and southern mountains will see the highest snow accumulations with 10 to 20 inches expected through Thursday morning and upwards of 2 feet or more in the San Juan Mountains".
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