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Midwest faces giant spring snowstorm, as Southwest braces for windstorms and potential wildfires

Fifteen million Americans will be exposed intense winter weather, as much of the Southwest is on wildfire watch.

Millions of Americans west of the Mississippi are facing severe weather, from thundersnow in South Dakota to dust storms in Las Vegas.

A historic storm with blizzard conditions is underway, according to the National Weather Service, putting 15 million Americans at risk of intense winter weather.

The 1,600 miles worth of winter weather advisories span from from the Rocky Mountains to Michigan. In Denver, which had 80 degree weather on Tuesday, a blizzard warning goes into effect at noon Wednesday. Northern Nebraska, much of South Dakota, and parts of southwest Michigan can expect anywhere from 18 inches to two feet of snow.

In South Dakota, thundersnow, when a thunderstorm produces rains snow instead of rain, is already being reported.

The National Weather Service says blizzard conditions are expected to be heavy, with wet snow and strong winds. As the storm travels north, snow will hit the Upper Great Lakes Wednesday night, and eventually turn into a rainstorm.

Even more, areas still recovering from the Midwest flooding that caused almost $1.4 billion of losses in Nebraska alone are expected to be hit by the storm, worsening conditions in the already-vulnerable region.

In South Dakota, the Pine Ridge Reservation is expected to be hit by this week's storm, when just last month tribal leaders of the Oglala Sioux Tribal reported over 75 damaged structures and 1,500 people displaced by the weather. Chase Iron Eyes, public relations director for the Oglala Sioux Tribe, said in a statement that as his community braces for Wednesday's storm, "we are once again largely without help" from the federal government.

United States Postal Service city carrier Chad Jacobs delivers mail along 16th Avenue Northwest as snow falls on April 10, 2019, in Rochester, Minnesota. Jacobs said he doesn't mind cold and prefers it over hot days.Andrew Link / The Rochester Post-Bulletin via AP

Meanwhile, 30 million Americans are facing huge winds, that are being reported throughout the Southwest, causing power outages in Los Angeles, and delayed flights at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. Lubbock, Texas, can expect up to 70 mile per hour winds, and dust storms are expected throughout the region.

The weather service is warning that high and sustained winds combined with dry conditions will create favorable conditions for wildfires on Wednesday. Much of New Mexico and corners of Colorado and West Texas have been placed on “critical” and even “extreme” risk of fire weather.

CORRECTION (April 10, 2019, 1:40 p.m.): An earlier version of this article misstated the name of the Native American tribe that was affected by flooding. It is the Oglala Sioux Tribe, not the Ogala Sioux Tribe.