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March 26, 2009 11:00 AM, EDT

Plains States, Highways Hit by Snow, Flooding

President Obama declared North Dakota a federal disaster area as floods from a big spring blizzard caused widespread road closures, and surrounding states to the south and west closed roads due to flooding and high winds, the Associated Press reported.

The blizzard blocked hundreds of miles of highways in Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota and Nebraska, leaving as much as two and half feet of snow in some areas, AP said.

The North Dakota Transportation Department said Wednesday that Interstate 94 was open again from Dickinson to Mandan, while a no-travel advisory remained in effect for eastern North Dakota due to blowing snow there, AP reported.

Fresh concerns about flooding from heavy snow arose as residents of Fargo, N.D., attempted to head off flooding of the Red River, which crested near 40 feet — well over its flood stage of 18 feet, AP said.

Demolition crews blasted chunks of ice to try to open a huge ice jam in the Missouri River Wednesday near Bismarck, N.D., the state's capital, AP reported.

High winds further south caused a pileup on a stretch of I-70 in central Kansas, turning over 13 vehicles, including several tractor-trailers, AP said, citing police officials.