Potentially deadly wind, snow choke traffic in Red River Valley; Minnesota National Guard on standby
As wind, snow and cold blasted the Red River Valley Sunday the Minnesota National Guard in Moorhead was standing by to aid with emergencies, according to Clay County Sheriff Bill Bergquist.
"They (The Guard) have a tracked vehicle they say can go right over the snow," said Bergquist, who said his own department had deputies on call in communities around the county with the necessary gear and vehicles to deal with snow and winds gusting above 40 mph.
"We have snowmobiles ready," said Bergquist.
Authorities in Fargo and Cass County were busy Sunday aiding motorists whose vehicles became stuck in snow drifts that grew deeper with each passing hour.
"We're advising absolutely no travel. Please honor this request, because conditions are that horrible," said Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney, who called the situation potentially deadly.
He said his department had helped a number of stranded motorists and as of noon none of them could give him a good reason for having ventured out.
Some streets, including 19th Avenue North in Fargo, were being closed because of the number of vehicles getting stuck.
Laney said it was important to keep resources available for emergencies and to help communities like Buffalo, N.D., which lost power about 9 a.m. and was still without power at 1 p.m.
Diana Weshnevski, wife of Buffalo Mayor Philip Weshnevski, said city officials were working to get a generator running at the town's community center.
Once that happens, she said officials will do their best to transport people to the center, which will be used as a temporary storm shelter.
She said that anyone needing assistance may call the Weshnevski home at (701) 633-5144.
Interstates were closed Sunday morning from the South Dakota border to Canada and from Jamestown, N.D., to Fergus Falls, Minn.
Highway 210 from Fergus Falls to Breckenridge, Minn., was also closed.
Bergquist said a number of people were driving on Highway 10 between Moorhead and Dilworth, even though conditions obviously dictated no travel.
Bergquist, who was manning a roadblock in Dilworth, said he turned back several eastbound vehicles, including a car carrying two people who said they were trying to get to Bemidji, Minn., before their car got stuck in the ditch near Dilworth.
Many businesses, including the West Acres Shopping Centers in Fargo, were closed Sunday.