updated 12/14/2008 12:22:15 PM ET 2008-12-14T17:22:15

Blizzard conditions made travel hazardous Sunday across the northern Plains and both North Dakota and South Dakota closed major highways and urged people to stay home.

The National Weather Service estimated as much as 13 inches of snow had fallen at Williston and about a foot in Bismarck, and strong wind whipped the powdery snow and cut visibility.

Bismarck's temperature at 9 a.m. was 10 below zero but the wind made it fell more like 35 below, weather service meteorologist Patrick Ayd said.

"You need two parkas," he said.

North Dakota officials said Interstate 94 was closed from Jamestown to Fergus Falls, Minn., more than 140 miles, along with the 200-mile stretch of I-29 from the South Dakota border to Canada.

In Fargo, the Cass County sheriff's office said visibility was down to zero with heavy drifting on the roads.

Highway closed for miles
The South Dakota Highway Patrol said Interstate 90 was closed for nearly 200 miles from Chamberlain west to Rapid City, and that police were sweeping the closed section to remove any stranded motorists. Secondary roads in some other parts of the state were under a "no travel" advisory.

Wind gusted to nearly 50 mph across most of South Dakota.

Many North Dakotans had been preparing for the storm since Wednesday.

"We had a lot of cancellations for the weekend. People were watching the weather," said Dee Martial, manager of a Ramada Limited motel off I-94 in Bismarck.

"We even had a lot of people on Friday who were supposed to stay through the weekend. They left early," she said. "With income the way it is, they don't want that added expense of the hotel."

The Minnesota Department of Transportation Web site said blowing snow produced difficult driving conditions across northern and western sections of the state.

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