UPDATED: Roads slick as southeast ND wakes up coated in iceFARGO – Commuters in Fargo-Moorhead and southeast North Dakota faced an icy drive to work today as much of the area awoke to a landscape coated in a thin layer of ice.
By: Forum staff reports, INFORUM
FARGO – Commuters in Fargo-Moorhead and southeast North Dakota faced an icy drive to work today as much of the area awoke to a landscape coated in a thin layer of ice.
“It’s not pretty out there,” said Bruce Nord, maintenance superintended for the state Department of Transportation's southeast district.
“Roads are icy,” he said. “We put the sand/salt down in the country, it blows right off. It doesn’t even hit the ground, the way the wind’s blowing.”
Visibility is especially poor on north-south roads, Nord said. One longtime NDDOT supervisor got his SUV stuck in the ditch because he couldn’t see Highway 18 just south of Amenia, and it took a wrecker about 90 minutes to drive the 15 miles to reach the supervisor and pull him out, he said.
A travel alert was being issued for the area, meaning road conditions are deteriorating, Nord said, adding a no-travel advisory could follow.
Dispatchers said at least one minor injury accident had been reported, a rollover-type crash around 7 a.m. about 30 miles west of Fargo on Interstate 94.
The Department of Transportation’s travel map, updated at 7:43 a.m., showed I-94 covered in ice west of Fargo to Tower City and from north of Hillsboro to the South Dakota border. Highways in the Wahpeton and Lisbon areas also were ice-covered, and other areas had scattered ice and/or snow on roadways.
Freezing drizzle fell in the Fargo-Moorhead area, coating roads and windshields. It’s expected to end by mid-morning as colder air works south, the National Weather Service said.
This is the first round of what’s expected to be a one-two storm punch. A winter storm warning is in effect until 6 a.m. Friday and a blizzard watch is in effect from Friday afternoon through Saturday morning.
The NWS office in Grand Forks says the weather pattern for today remains “very complex.”
Three to five inches of snow fell Wednesday night into early this morning along and north of a line from Minot to Devils Lake to Grafton to Roseau, Minn. That snow is expected to end before noon.
“A second area of snow will develop this afternoon into this evening from Fargo and Wahpeton through Minnesota lakes country with 5 to 8 inches of new snow expected,” the weather service said on its website.
North winds of 20 to 35 mph will cause blowing snow and reduced visibility.
The second storm will bring very cold air, with wind chills expected to be as low as 22 below zero Friday, along with strong winds, snow and possible blizzard conditions, the weather service said.