Great Plains cleanup underway after snow, tornadoes


In the Rapid City area, where 21 inches of snow fell, authorities were recruiting snowmobilers today to help rescue about 80 motorists stuck in their vehicles. Up to three and a-half feet of snow coated the Black Hills.

Interstate 90 was still closed in the western part of South Dakota this morning, and officials advised against travel on other roads in the area.

Blowing snow kept Black Hills Power crews from working overnight to restore electricity. The weather service said there were wind gusts of up to 70 mph in the area.

In addition to snow, the powerful cold front that blew through the Plains unleashed severe thunderstorms and tornadoes.

National Weather Service crews are assessing damage in Iowa and Nebraska after as many as nine tornadoes touched down.

Some of the most severe damage was in the Nebraska town of Wayne, where the Omaha World-Herald reports at least 10 buildings were destroyed and five were heavily damaged.

Mayor Ken Chamberlain said at least 15 people were injured, with one person in critical condition.

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