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Blizzard barrels toward region

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A storm the National Weather Service says will bring at least a foot of snow here is still on track to be the first blizzard of the season.

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Peter Rogers, an NWS meteorologist in Grand Forks, said he expected at least a foot of snow to fall in the Fargo-Moorhead area and more snowfall farther south. Fergus Falls could see about 18 inches of snow, he said.

Whether the storm system will develop into a blizzard depends on wind.

"It's a potentially very powerful storm. Unlike most of the storms we've had this winter, this one could lead to blizzard conditions," said John Wheeler, chief meteorologist at WDAY-TV.

In order to be classified a blizzard, a winter storm must have sustained winds or frequent wind gusts of more than 35 mph.

"We won't be having a blizzard until sometime on Wednesday, at the end of the storm," Wheeler said.

If winds pick up, it will cause extremely poor visibility in open areas and travel will be hazardous at the peak of the storm, Rogers said.

The storm comes on the heels of this season's first major snowfall. On Sunday, the Fargo-Moorhead area received 4.2 inches of snow, wreaking havoc on roads across North Dakota.

Highway Patrol Sgt. Josh Rude said there were at least a dozen accidents in southeast North Dakota as well as "countless" vehicles sliding into the ditch.

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