Winter Storm Weakens But Thousands Still Without Power

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CHICAGO (CBSMiami/AP) — While the harsh winter storm that swept into the northern Great Plains has weakened, thousands remain without power in the Dakotas and Michigan.

High winds and drifting snow continued to make travel hazardous in the Dakotas, even as vast stretches of highways that had been closed reopened to traffic. The storm also caused extensive power outages.

The no-travel warnings issued Christmas Day for much of North Dakota had largely expired by Tuesday, although the National Weather Service warned that drifting snow still blocked some roads.

On Tuesday morning, Interstate 94 remained closed in North Dakota from Dickinson to Jamestown, except for the Bismarck-Mandan area. And in South Dakota, Interstate 90, which had been closed for 260 miles between the Wyoming border and Chamberlain, was entirely reopened to traffic.

The Minot International Airport, which was closed Monday due to whiteout conditions, reopened Tuesday and was expecting its first flights — incoming and outgoing — late morning.

Winds gusting 40 mph to 50 mph also led to delays and cancellations at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Monday, but the airport returned to full operations the next day, reporting just a handful of delays.

The South Dakota Rural Electric Association said roughly 13,700 of its customers were without power early Tuesday, and it could take several days to restore service.

High winds knocked out power to thousands of customers in Michigan on Monday.

Consumers Energy spokesman Brian Wheeler told WOOD-TV that more than 20,000 customers in the state were without power Monday evening. The Traverse City Record Eagle reported that customers of several utilities in northern Michigan were without power Monday afternoon.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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