FARGO — One thing is for sure during this snow storm affecting much of eastern North Dakota and northwest Minnesota: it is a gamble to be out on the roads; especially those with floodwaters lapping against them.
Across the region, many cars have been sliding off highways since the storm hit Thursday afternoon, April 11, some skidding into ditches with eight to 10 feet of water in them.
WDAY News met with longtime Valley Water Rescue divers Mike Knorr and Pete Fendt south of Fargo-Moorhead to see first hand the dangers of being out on the road during a snow storm during spring flooding.
It didn't take long to understand the hazard water filled ditches pose in this kind of weather.
"It is deceptive how quickly it gets deep . . . if a car moves out, it will get light fast and if the water is moving it will slide it right off the road," Knorr said.
"Your car turns into a boat in little or no water at all, and you go sideways, Fendt said. "We have been in situations where people have been washed off the road and nobody can help you once you do that."
Clay County Sheriff Mark Empting said his deputies will be out north of Moorhead overnight Thursday, but warned that people need to stay home if possible. Water is running across roads on Highway 75 and along county and township roads, creating particularly dangerous driving conditions.
Law enforcement officials are concerned about night time driving where there is water on both sides of the road. If you go in the ditch, there is a good chance nobody would see you.
And if deputies do find a driver, it can be hard for them to tell just how bad the situation is in the dark.
"We don't know how deep it is, we don't know if the car will be partially submerged, fully submerged," Empting said.