A large winter storm brought freezing rain, heavy snow and strong winds to North Dakota on Monday, challenging traffic and forcing the closure of some schools and government offices.
A no travel advisory, due to icy road conditions and near zero visibility, was issued at 12:30 p.m. by the North Dakota Department of Transportation and the North Dakota Highway Patrol. The advisory, which warned that it was not safe to travel on roadways, pertained to Williston, Watford City, Crosby, Bowbells, Stanley, Bismarck, Underwood, Steele, Linton, Wishek, Ashley, Edgeley, Oakes and surrounding areas due to wind and accumulating snow. All oversized vehicles were restricted from traveling in the state.
Flights in and out of the Bismarck Airport were canceled Monday due to severe weather.
Parts of the Dakotas were expected to get more than a foot of snow by the time the system moved east, with Minnesota, Nebraska and Iowa also getting significant amounts, according to the National Weather Service. In southeastern South Dakota, a 140-mile stretch of Interstate 90 was shut down on Monday.
Mandan closed its schools. Several colleges and universities also closed their campuses for the day. Among them were Williston State College and University of Mary. University of North Dakota and North Dakota State University also closed, affecting more than 26,000 students.
"Safety is always the key factor," UND spokesman Peter Johnson said.
Locally, health clinics encountered a number of cancellations.
Sanford Health Clinics saw about 50 percent of the patients it typically sees on a Monday, according to Jon Berg, a senior media relations specialist with Sanford Health.
"Many patients have been calling to reschedule their appointments due to the winter weather," Berg said.
Sanford-based clinics in Bismarck-Mandan closed at 2 p.m. Monday, though the walk-in clinic located within Sanford Seventh & Broadway Clinic remained open until 9 p.m. and the emergency department remained open 24 hours a day.
MidDakota Clinic scheduled its closing at 5 p.m. Monday, including its TODAY Clinic, which is a walk-in urgent care clinic. Spokeswoman Jane Schlinger said any updates will be posted on the website and Facebook page.
Total snow accumulations of 8 to 12 inches were expected by the National Weather Service in Bismarck. Some areas saw more than 2 inches of snow falling per hour. The winter storm warning was accompanied by gusts as high as 35 mph, causing areas of blowing and drifting snow.
-- The Associated Press contributed to this report