Record-setting snows fall throughout region
A record-setting snowfall that shut down travel from one end of North Dakota to the other could be followed by another snowfall later this week, according to the National Weather Service.
“We have a new system coming in Wednesday and Thursday – mostly snow, with the potential for more accumulation,” said Jeff Makowski, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Forks.
Makowski said the specifics of the storm and its track are still up in the air as of early Monday morning.
Fargo blew past its daily snowfall record for April 14 at 6.3 inches, with the last record-setter being April 14, 1986, at 3.7 inches.
Hubbard County received 6-10 inches of snow, with the heaviest accumulations north and east of Park Rapids.
All of Interstate 94 from the Montana border to the Minnesota border is now open. Just after 9 this morning, I-94 was reopened between Bismarck and Jamestown. Just after 10 a.m., it was reopened from the Montana border to Dickinson and from Jamestown to Fargo. About 11 a.m., it was repoted from Dickinson to Bismarck.
A travel alert is in effect for state highways around Dickinson, Bismarck, Jamestown, Valley City, Fargo, Wahpeton and areas south of US Highway 2, excluding the northwest region of the state.
North Dakota State Trooper Luke Hendrickson said he couldn’t remember the last time all of I-94 had been shut down from Fargo to Montana.
“I honestly don’t know – I know we had to shut down a lot of it in 2010, but not the whole state,” he said. “As you get further west, it gets even worse.”
Makoswki said areas west of the Sheyenne River Valley received the heaviest snowfall amounts, with Bismarck reporting 17.3 inches of snow as of Sunday. Valley City recorded 9 inches.
Grand Forks reported 3 to 4 inches of accumulation on road surfaces, although Makowski said the snow was very wet and still creating slippery spots for drivers.
Hendrickson said he had troopers stationed along some roadblocks on the I-94 as snow plows worked to get roadways and ramps cleared. There were 23 accidents over the weekend in the Fargo-Moorhead area, said Hendrickson, mostly around the I-94 and I-29 interchange, where ramps were slippery.
I-29 was reopened from Fargo to Grand Forks at 10 p.m. Sunday, but the state Department of Transportation still had the stretch of interstate under a no-travel advisory due to heavy snow, high winds, and ice-covered roadways.
U.S. 83 from Bismarck to Underwood was reopened Monday morning, but it is also under a no-travel advisory, and DOT officials lifted the no-travel advisory for the Williston area.
Only a few people tried to brave the roads Monday morning in the Fargo metro area, Hendrickson said. Most drivers have figured out it is better to play it safe, he said.
“What are you going to do? It’s just a fact of life of where we are,” Hendrickson said.
“I put in a transfer to Phoenix, but that hasn’t come through yet,” he said, chuckling.