April blizzard strikes hard
A late spring blizzard not only stranded motorists, caused power outages and canceled events in many counties in western North Dakota, it also resulted in one reported fatality.
Bruce W. Jacobs was killed when his 1988 Toyota pickup struck 19-year-old Tanner Senn, who was driving a 2002 Ford pickup 1 mile north of New England on North Dakota Highway 22, according to the North Dakota Highway Patrol.
Jacobs, 49, of New England, was traveling north from New England when he encountered whiteout conditions. Senn was traveling home to Bison, S.D., from Dickinson. The vehicles collided on the snow- and slush-covered road.
Jacobs was pronounced dead at the scene. Senn was injured and taken to St. Joseph's Hospital and Health
Emergency managers said blowing snow caused low visibility and no travel was advised for much of western North Dakota.
Interstate 94 from Dickinson to the Montana boarder was also closed.
"It was an extreme event but snow this late is not uncommon in North Dakota," said Accuweather Meteorologist Dave Houk.
Houk could not find any records for blizzards, but added the last big snow storms to hit North Dakota this late in the year happened in 1883 and 1984.
Snow accumulations Saturday ranged from three to seven inches with wind gusts between 50 and 68 mph, Houk said.
County emergency managers, the North Dakota Highway Patrol and other emergency personal assisted stranded motorists along the interstate and busy roads.
Golden Valley emergency personal had trouble locating some stranded motorists but did find them in the early afternoon hours.
"We had a hard time getting to them but thankfully everyone was alright," Golden Valley Emergency Manager Brenda Frieze said.
Stark County Emergency Manager Bill Fahlsing said he was considering opening an emergency shelter for a time, but conditions improved.
Power outages were also a major problem Saturday.
Some residents in Golden Valley County were without power for six hours, Frieze said.
Billings, Bowman, Dunn, and Stark county emergency managers also reported periodic outages, saying ice on the lines, high winds and fallen trees were the cause.
"We had to block of a portion of a road north of Manning because there were live wires on the ground," Dunn County Emergency Manager Denise Brew said.
The weather caused many event cancelations.
As bad as Saturday was, today is supposed to be much milder with a high of 47 and winds between 15 and 20 mph.