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Early spring blizzard pummels the Upper Midwest

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) -- A spring snowstorm in the Upper Midwest is shutting down schools and government offices, making travel hazardous for motorists and life miserable for cattle ranchers in the midst of calving season.

The National Weather Service has issued blizzard warnings for much of the Dakotas and part of Minnesota, with snow amounts of up to 20 inches possible.

Meteorologist Michael Mathews in Bismarck says it's not uncommon for a blizzard to hit the region this time of year, though he says the snow is lighter and fluffier than snow associated with many spring storms.

That's good news for ranchers with newborn calves. South Dakota Stockgrowers Association Executive Director Silvia Christen says she doesn't expect a repeat of an early October blizzard that killed tens of thousands of animals.

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