And driving conditions? "The roads are bad", said one South Dakota sheriff's department spokesman. "Unfortunately in the Dakotas, we get feet of snow", he said. "But.it's worth repeating. Stay safe out there!"
The blizzard, dubbed a "bomb cyclone" because of its rapidly intensifying funnel shape, is the second one to hit the region over the past month.
"This is potentially a life-threatening storm", said Patrick Burke, a meteorologist with the NWS Weather Prediction Center in Maryland.
Parts of six states were under blizzard warnings on Wednesday, in an area that included Denver; Cheyenne, Wyoming; Scottsbluff, Nebraska; and Pierre, South Dakota.
Winds in excess of 50 miles per hour (80.46 kph) were combining with low humidity and an unstable atmosphere to create critical fire conditions in the three states.
Technically, it's a bomb cyclone when the pressure drops 24 millibars in 24 hours. Four weeks ago, a similarly powerful system dumped heavy snow and rain on some of the same regions, leaving hundreds of millions of dollars in livestock and crop damage in Nebraska alone, largely through flooding.
"Travel will be very hard to impossible" Wednesday evening into Friday morning, a National Weather Service office in Nebraska said, using language almost mirrored by offices throughout the region. Above, a pair of semi tractor-trailer rigs jackknifed and collided near the Highway 15-68 intersection south of New Ulm.
"Roads are becoming impassable". The National Weather Service reported that daily snowfall records had already fallen in La Crosse, Wausau and Green Bay.
Kristi Noem has closed state government offices in 52 counties.
Strong winds associated with the weather system were also creating unsafe wildfire and travel conditions in New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma. Of those, 33 involved injuries, authorities tweeted.
Comment voir le match Lille - PSG en direct et en streaming
Ce dimanche soir (21h00), Lille accueille le Paris Saint-Germain, dans le cadre de la 32eme journée de Ligue 1 . Le joueur intéresse de très nombreux clubs et le prix de 70 millions d'euros pourrait bien être dépassé.
The Minnesota State Patrol said it had responded to more than 500 crashes statewide since Wednesday, while the National Guard stood ready to rescue any stranded motorists.
Just this week, Denver was basking in springlike conditions with 78 degrees Tuesday, a near-record high for that date.
The snow began early Wednesday morning and continued through the afternoon.
"We dodged a bullet", said Denver electrician Jason Sorber, as the Denver metropolitan area was grazed by the massive winter storm, receiving only two inches (5.08 cm) of snow. Hundreds of schools canceled classes Thursday.
In addition to snow, the storm was bombarding the region with rain, sleet, freezing rain and thunderstorms.
(ABC News) Heavy snow will fall in South Dakota, Nebraska and Minnesota on Wednesday night. The Red River is now flooding in some areas, and the extra precipitation likely will exacerbate that.
Parts of Nebraska on Wednesday are expected to see warm temperatures and severe weather: think tornados, large hail and damaging wind.
In Iowa, Gov. Kim Reynolds urged Iowans to make preparations for flooding. By Thursday morning, the same area will see blizzard conditions. Delta said it will waive any applicable fees for travelers who want to change their flights.
Frontier said customers whose flights are canceled may request a refund.