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Associated Press, Published April 15 2013

Snow storm in Dakotas sets several records

BISMARCK — Many schools in the Dakotas called off classes or started late Monday, state Capitol offices were closed all morning and the North Dakota Legislature canceled its session for the day following a record-breaking snow storm over the weekend.

As much as 1 ½ feet of snow fell in western and central North Dakota and northern South Dakota on Sunday, according to National Weather Service reports.

Snowfall records were set in the North Dakota cities of Bismarck and Fargo and the South Dakota city of Aberdeen. Fargo and Aberdeen set city records for the date, with 6.3 inches and 8 inches, respectively. Aberdeen also set a record for water equivalent, with 0.79 inches of water in the snow.

The 17.3 inches of snow that fell in Bismarck shattered records. It was the snowiest day in city history, according to the National Weather Service. The snowfall broke city records for April 14, for any day in April and for any day of the year, and also pushed the snowfall total for the month to more than 21 inches, also a record.

Meteorologist Bill Abeling said the snow prevented a few weather service employees in Bismarck from making it to work Monday, even in four-wheel drive vehicles.

"We're still subject to the same weather effects as everyone else," he said.

Morgan Andenas and Austin Weber worked up a sweat Monday morning digging out at their home near the Capitol. The couple bought the home recently after moving from eastern South Dakota.

"We were hoping to move into our new house and not have to shovel until next winter," Andenas said. "But we were wrong."

Bismarck hardware store owner Jeff Hinz said the storm marked a first for his business — he sold a snow blower in April. But with warmer spring temperatures on the way, he didn't expect the bump in sales of snow blower parts and shovels to last long.

"If this was October, we'd be going nuts," he said.

A winter storm warning remained posted for parts of central North Dakota and the eastern portion of the state on Monday. Many roads were closed or impassable.

Transportation officials late Sunday reopened Interstate 29 between Fargo and Grand Forks in the east. Interstate 94 across the southern part of the state and U.S. Highway 83 between Bismarck and Underwood in central North Dakota reopened Monday morning.

No travel advisories were lifted in most areas of the state Monday morning, though motorists were urged to use caution.

Snow remained in the forecast for both states through the rest of the work week. The weather service posted a winter storm watch for southwest and part of central South Dakota for Tuesday night into Wednesday night. Forecasters said up to 12 inches of snow might fall in some areas, and strong winds could reduce visibility for travelers.

Residents of eastern South Dakota are still recovering from a snow and ice storm last week that knocked out power to more than 90,000 customers. Xcel Energy, which had the bulk of the outages, said late Sunday that crews had restored power to all customers except those whose homes were damaged by the storm.

The Red Cross ended shelter operations in Sioux Falls on Sunday.

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Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.