Thunderstorms, heavy snow, moving into Midwest

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Powerful storms crawled into the Midwest on Friday, dumping heavy snow in South Dakota, spawning a tornado in Nebraska and threatening dangerous thunderstorms from Oklahoma to Wisconsin.

A foot of snow had fallen in western South Dakota’s scenic Black Hills by early Friday, thanks to a storm gaining strength as it slowly moves east from Colorado and Wyoming. Blizzard conditions were expected in the area, with as much as 3 feet of snow and wind gusts of between 50 and 70 mph.

Although early October snowfalls aren’t unusual in the Black Hills, a storm of this magnitude happens only once every decade or two on the plains, National Weather Service meteorologist Steve Trimarchi said.

“I couldn’t say when the last time we’ve had one like this. It’s been quite a while,” Trimarchi said.

In Nebraska, a tornado that touched down Thursday night damaged homes and businesses in several communities, knocked out power and toppled trees. But no injuries have been reported.