A Christmas blizzard is expected to blanket several US states, particularly the northern Plains, and may make travel in the region "very dangerous if not impossible". The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for parts of North Dakota, South Dakota and a small section of eastern Montana through Monday (26 December).
The weather service expects snow totals of 8 to 15 inches and winds reaching up to 55mph. "Significant ice accumulations up to a quarter of an inch will make travel extremely dangerous or impossible," the weather service said.
According to CBS News, an ice storm warning is also in effect through late Sunday (25 December) in central South Dakota, south-west North Dakota and much of central Minnesota. Up to half an inch of ice is expected in the region.
"Conditions will be dicey for any Christmas Day travelers" in the area, WCCO meteorologist Molly Rosenblatt told CBS News. "We'll see things really start to deteriorate for much of the western portion of the country—again, the Rockies, Plains states, as well as the Upper Midwest."
AccuWeather Meteorologit Brett Rathburn said the heaviest snow and most extreme blizzard conditions will be felt from Rapid City, South Dakota to Bismarck and Grand Forks, North Dakota. The blizzard will broaden to southern Manitoba and northern Ontario, Canada at night, AccuWeather reported.
National Weather Service meteorologist Greg Gust in Grand Forks, North Dakota advised holiday travellers to "stay put". Gust said, "Between the ice and snow, and winds howling like crazy, there will be nothing moving" until later on Monday. "Then it's dig-out time."
The weather service said that anyone who "must travel" should carry an extra flashlight, food and water. The Associated Press reported that rain and possible storms are expected to move through parts of Kansas, Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska on Sunday.
Rapid City Regional Airport announced that all flights in and out of the airport had been cancelled on Sunday (25 December). "The airport will remain open for medical air transports that may be needed. If conditions continue to worsen, the airport may have to close. Safety is our highest priority and concern. This will impact air traffic scheduled for the next few days. Travellers are advised to contact their airline regarding their flight status," a statement posted to the airport's Facebook page said.