A look at how the blizzard impacts rural roads outside Fargo-Moorhead

The sheer accumulation of snow is making it tough on rural roads, shutting some down and covering them in snow drifts.

Finn Harrison

FARGO — In a storm like this, Clay County Sheriff Mark Empting's deputies are stationed throughout the county before the storm. While WDAY News rode along on Wednesday, April 5, Empting spotted a handful of snowmobilers stuck somewhere east of of Moorhead.

"Just want to make sure they have some help," Empting said.

It turned out to just be a mechanical issue, though it was clear how these storms can impact gravel roads, making them impossible to see.

Visibility can take a turn in uncovered areas, especially near the larger snow piles.

"The county plows are having such a hard time keeping up and keeping the roads clear as we've had so much snow over the past how many blizzards that is just accumulated, and it starts blowing," Empting said. "It just starts to drift in again even worse and worse."


For this blizzard, most rural neighbors heeded the warnings, resulting in no calls for crashes to Clay County deputies. There was just one call for Cass County, where Sheriff Jesse Jahner took WDAY News beyond the road closure signs to show us why County Road 10 shuts down in a time like this.

The lanes tend to shrink down to one lane of travel, pitting vehicles head on towards each other, Jahner said. Visibility issues also cause a lot of concern, he added.

Across the snow-coated chasm, a driver was spotted in the closed road. Jahner pulled the driver over for a quick chat. The driver said he lived in the area and he was allowed to leave, Jahner said.

While conditions improved throughout the afternoon, Jahner warns drivers that white-out conditions can happen suddenly when it gets this windy.

Plows in these rural areas are clearing the main roadways before getting to more of the gravel roads. Problem is, those main roads keep getting covered again and again, because of the blowing snow.

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