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Blizzard conditions trucking across Great Lakes

Winds of 70 mph possible

(Photo: Minnesota DOT)

A powerful cold front stretching from Canada to Texas is producing blizzard conditions in parts of the Great Lakes region.

Related: Chaining up: 4 pro tips for truckers

The National Weather Service has winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories posted in eastern North Dakota and the northern half of Minnesota, including portions of the Interstates 29 and 94 corridors. These alerts are set to expire either late Thursday morning or early afternoon.

High-wind warnings and wind advisories have been posted from these areas to far northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Only a few inches of snow are forecast for these areas, but wind gusts will reach 50 to 70 mph at times, elevating the risk of rollovers. Blowing snow will reduce visibility, producing occasional blizzard and whiteout conditions in places such as Fargo and Grand Forks, North Dakota; St. Cloud, Bemidji, Duluth, International Falls and Fergus Falls, Minnesota; and Marquette, Ironwood and Houghton, Michigan.

Farther south, where snow is not predicted, high winds will spread to northern Indiana, northern Ohio, southern Michigan, northwestern Pennsylvania and upstate New York. Gusts of 45 to 55 mph will be common Thursday afternoon and evening in South Bend, Indiana; Detroit; Cleveland; Erie, Pennsylvania; Buffalo and Rochester, New York; as well as spots in between.

Truckers who have to go through these areas should make sure their mobile device weather apps are set to GPS mode. This will ensure drivers will receive local severe storm alerts no matter where they are.

Major lanes of concern

• Interstate 29 from the South Dakota-North Dakota border to the U.S.-Canada border.
• Interstate 94 from Jamestown, North Dakota, to St. Cloud.
• U.S. Highway 2 from Grand Forks to St. Ignace, Michigan.

Other notable weather

Heavy snow continues Thursday morning in the Sierra Nevada and is forecast to fade during the afternoon. Some roads may be impassable due to several feet of snow that have piled up since the beginning of the week. Blizzard conditions may persist in some areas.

Showers and thunderstorms Thursday and Friday will hit places from eastern Texas to the Ohio Valley, including some places hit by tornadoes last Friday. The threat for severe storms is low but could happen in a few areas. Localized flash flooding is possible.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

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Nick Austin

Nick is a meteorologist with 20 years of forecasting and broadcasting experience. He was nominated for a Midsouth Emmy for his coverage during a 2008 western Tennessee tornado outbreak. He received his Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Florida State University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Management from the Georgia Tech. Nick is a member of the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association. As a member of the weather team at WBBJ-TV in Jackson, Tennessee, Nick was nominated for a Mid-South Emmy for live coverage of a major tornado outbreak in February 2008. As part of the weather team at WRCB-TV in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Nick shared the Chattanooga Times-Free Press Best of the Best award for “Best Weather Team” eight consecutive years.