updated 5/12/2005 11:58:40 AM ET 2005-05-12T15:58:40

Up to 9 inches of snow fell in parts of the Dakotas by breakfast time Thursday, and authorities advised drivers to be wary. But at least the snow was wet — a boon for landowners struggling with drought, forecasters said.

Belfield Mayor Susan Heck said travel was slow and the wind had picked up but the snow was manageable.

“It’s just wet. It’s not even very big flakes,” Heck said.

After a night of blowing snow, authorities advised no travel Thursday morning in Slope and Bowman counties, at the southwestern corner of North Dakota. Bowman had 9 inches of snow in the 24 hours ending at 7 a.m.

In South Dakota, the heavy, wet snow led to broken tree limbs and electric outages around Rapid City. Crews were working to restore electricity to about 5,000 homes and businesses, and classes were canceled Thursday.

Single-day snow record
Rapid City set a single-day snow record Wednesday with 7.5 inches, almost double the 4-inch mark for the date set in 1983. By 6 a.m. Thursday, the total accumulation there topped 9 inches.

Black Hills rancher Leonard Wood said the recent rains and Wednesday’s storm meant he could cancel plans to sell some of his herd.

“Two months ago, I was concerned that I wasn’t going to have enough pasture, and now it looks like we’ve got some more time,” he said.

Montana, Colorado warnings
Winter storm warnings stretched Thursday morning from the western Dakotas area into eastern Montana and southeastern Colorado. The storm was turning into heavy rain in the eastern Dakotas.

To the south, heavy rain, strong wind and hail pummeled central Nebraska on Thursday, forcing about 20 people from their homes in Grand Island.

On Wednesday, Montana saw flooding after unusually heavy rain and snow fell in scattered regions. The National Weather Service said precipitation totals for the 24-hour period through afternoon included 4.4 inches of rain and 36 inches of snow southwest of Red Lodge.

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