At least two are dead and tens of thousands are without power as an unprecedented blizzard rages in the Midwest and Northern Plains. In a rare move, Fargo, North Dakota has issued a “No-Travel” advisory. From Michigan to Ohio, high wind speeds have knocked out power lines and made travel inadvisable.
The Weather Channel is calling the storm Winter Storm Gage, and it’s currently stretching from the Northern Plains to New England. Snowfall as far east as New York is a result of the storm, which looks on track to keep bringing travel headaches to the US for the next few days at least.
Strong Winds Pose Threat
On Sunday, the wind speeds in Columbus, Ohio were pushing 30 MPH. As the front picked up and moved through the region, however, the pattern sped to gusts topping 70 MPH, downing power lines and posing a serious travel threat. As a result, thousands were without power and roads were closed due to downed power lines.
S.R. 601 in Ohio was partly closed due to a downed tree, while State Road 56 was closed in Madison County over concerns regarding a downed power line. In Auburn Hills, Michigan, a downed tree pulled power lines down onto a vehicle and started a car fire. The wind even poses a rollover risk, with several trucks and tall vehicles being rolled off of the highway from the wind.
Due to the massive amounts of snowfall and road blockages, travel advisories have been issued across the Northern Plains and New England. Many roads on Sunday were all but impassable due to the snow accumulation, while parts of the region have declared “snow emergencies” from the wintry conditions.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation issued a rare “no-travel” advisory for all state and federal highways, citing the emergency conditions in the region. Authorities in the state have reported a few deaths from the weather conditions, including an 82-year-old man who rolled his car into a ditch on Saturday morning.
Similarly, the city of Fargo, North Dakota issued an extremely rare no-travel advisory, citing the extreme weather conditions. “In our history, the City has rarely issued no travel advisories and only does so when conditions require,” wrote a city official in a Facebook post.