The first winter storm of the season to originate in the Rockies was discharging its energy primarily in North Dakota on Thursday, where it could dump up to 18 inches (46 centimeters) of snow and generate winds of up to 50 miles per hour (80 kilometers per hour), according to the National Weather Service.
The system began with a period of freezing drizzle that made travel in the Dakotas hazardous. It caused a chain reaction collision that destroyed a state trooper’s car and shut down Interstates 94 and 29 in eastern North Dakota for many hours on Wednesday night and Thursday morning, respectively.
I-94 was blocked from Dickinson in the west to Jamestown in the east, a span of nearly 200 miles, by Thursday afternoon, making travel dangerous across southern North Dakota (322 kilometers). Zero visibility, blowing snow, and treacherous conditions prompted the relocation. Officials also warned about minor routes that were inaccessible.
North Dakota Department of Transportation: “Emergency responders may not be able to reach you safely if your vehicle becomes stuck.”
Numerous closings and cancellations brought Bismarck, the capital of the state, to a stop. Bert Kreischer’s intended presentation was postponed until March, and his tour bus got trapped in the snow before reaching the city. The Bismarck Tribune claimed that a dozen individuals reacted to Kreischer’s rescue request on social media.
Thursday, storm warnings were issued for western Montana, southwestern to northeastern South Dakota, and northern Minnesota, but according to meteorologist Carl Jones, North Dakota would be hit the worst.
Jones, who works out of the meteorological service’s Grand Forks office in eastern North Dakota, said, “Heavy snowfall volumes are mostly to blame.” We’re talking about 1 to 2 inches per hour across a huge area.
A snowstorm pummeled the central region of North Dakota. Jacqueline Swiftbird, a cashier at the Flying J truck stop in Mandan, a nearby city of Bismarck, reported that a semi-trailer carrying several cars had stalled outside her window. She said that she was the only cashier that was able to report to work and that she picked up staff for restaurants and other stores in the travel center.
Swiftbird said, “It is tremendously, incredibly dangerous out there.” “I am quite busy as the lone cashier, but I would prefer that no additional staff attempt to work under similar circumstances.”
Bismarck received 13 inches (33 centimeters) of snow, while New Salem received 16 inches (41 centimeters), Steele received 14 inches (36 centimeters), Harvey received 10 inches (25 centimeters), and Williston received 9 inches (23 centimeters).
Wednesday at around 6:30 p.m., the trooper’s car was involved in an accident on Interstate 94 near Jamestown, according to the North Dakota Highway Patrol. The police car was hit by a passenger automobile after the officer exited a vehicle to see a semi jackknifing on the roadway. The soldier was unharmed.
Seven other collisions occurred at the same site in rapid succession. The patrol reported that several injured people were transported to a hospital in Jamestown, including one person with a broken leg.
Jones, the meteorologist, stated that the first storm is always an opportunity to learn or relearn.
“We rely somewhat on that. “During the first storm of the season, if you will, we try to emphasize the need for extra caution,” Jones said. “We’re really trying to remind people to practice safe driving habits and pack their vehicles with winter survival kits.”