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The weather service said the strong winds will combine with heavy snow over much of North Dakota, with a snowfall range expected for the Fargo-Moorhead area of 6 to 12 inches over the course of the storm.

The system was undergoing cyclogenesis on Wednesday over southern Colorado satellite images from the NWS showed.

Emergency crews responded after a vehicle was swept off a road in Norfolk, Nebraska, and rising water along the Elkhorn River prompted evacuations in the city of 24,000 people.

Wyoming closed state offices in Cheyenne, while South Dakota's governor ordered state offices closed in 39 central and western counties because of the storm.

In Elbert County, about 70 miles southeast of Denver, county manager Sam Albrecht said first responders were scrambling to rescue stranded motorists on highways and roads.

Snow totals ranged from 2 inches in Boulder to 7.1 inches at Denver International Airport to 12 inches around Aurora and Parker and Castle Rock.

The storm is bringing hurricane winds to the Rockies and as far away as Amarillo, Texas. We saw the west to east differences that we were forecasting.

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According to weather.com, the storm continued to hammer parts of Nebraska and the Dakotas Thursday with heavy snow and blasting winds with gusts that limited visibility across the region.

In New Mexico, heavy winds contributed to the derailment of a 26-car train near the village of Logan, according to a tweet from state police.

Winds hit 103 mph in Pine Springs, Tex., and 104 mph in San Augustine Pass, N.M., while a number of locations across Colorado hit 90 mph.

And while some flights resumed, the airport was not expected to be fully operational until midday on Thursday as airlines had still had to dispatch more planes to Denver to replace those diverted or canceled earlier, she said. No injuries were reported. Winds of 30 to 40 miles per hour with gusts over 60 miles per hour are expected across parts of New Mexico, western Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado. Coincidentally, this is the 26th anniversary of the 1993 Superstorm, also known as "The Storm of the Century", which also brought a wide array of severe weather over a large area.

Parts of seven states were under blizzard warnings, and 20 states were under some level of high wind alert, Carbin said.

Denver Public Schools closed Wednesday because of "severe winter weather and road conditions", and more than two dozen schools districts in South Dakota are closed due to weather. As the storm moves eastward, it will weaken - but it will still bring risks of high winds, hail and tornadoes to a broad region from the Great Lakes to the South, the NWS says. "The snow will start mid-morning, but the worst of it will be from mid-afternoon (Wednesday) and overnight into Thursday".