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Darren Weiler tries to blow snow and unblock the pickup owned by Jane Praus on Tuesday afternoon in north Dickinson. Praus got her vehicle stuck in the snow while trying to leave her apartment earlier in the day.

One last blast?

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The calendar says spring started last Friday. There was a light at the end of a long winter's tunnel as just a few pockets of snow remained and the streets were visible once again.

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But, following a blizzard that rose from the southwest corner of the state and made its way across North Dakota Monday evening and early Tuesday morning, winter is back.

And while there was advanced warning for the storm, few thought it would drop as much snow as it did, effectively shutting down many towns in the area Tuesday.

"I have dozens of weather on my computer and watched all the news and I don't think anyone thought it was going to be this bad this far west," said Ken Kussy, Dickinson city Public Works Manager for streets.

Kussy's street crews started the clean-up process at 5 a.m. Tuesday. The process was complicated by the fact that several city employees got stuck coming in to run the plows.

"We had trouble getting guys in," said Kussy, who himself got stuck. "We got the first guys in and then we had to go and get the other operators because they were getting stuck."

Once the plows got started clearing the streets, their jobs were made more difficult by the heavy accumulation of snow and the weight of it.

Kussy said he hasn't seen snow packed this thick for about 15 years. He added that the crews will work throughout the night in an attempt to get the majority of the streets passable by tomorrow.

Regardless of whether or not the streets are cleared, however, students in Dickinson won't have to worry about getting to class on time. Both school systems, Dickinson Public Schools and the Dickinson Catholic Schools, along with Dickinson State University and Richardton-Taylor have canceled Wednesday classes.

Ron Treacy, director of University Relations at DSU, said the administration made the decision after reviewing the situation on campus and off campus Tuesday afternoon.

"It's going to take them a good while to get those (the city streets) cleared and of course we don't want people, faculty and staff and students located off campus to take unnecessary risks on their way in," Treacy said. "In anticipation of it taking some time to clear this snow -- both on campus and within the city of Dickinson -- we made that decision."

Many of those who did venture outside their homes found themselves digging out or calling for assistance.

Sgt. Joe Cianni with the Dickinson Police Department said they received numerous calls for assistance on Monday night and Tuesday, but nothing out of the ordinary.

"We've have various calls where people are stuck or accidents here and there," Cianni said. "Just the general things that are associated with high accumulations of snow."

Interstate 94 from Dickinson to Mandan was closed early Tuesday morning due to a high volume of calls received overnight, said Capt. Tony Huck with the North Dakota Highway Patrol in Dickinson.

"We had a couple troopers out and they were running steady all night," Huck said. "Going from one call to the next. We had a lot of semis that had slid off into the ditches and the median."

Huck said if conditions improve, I-94 should be reopen sometime Wednesday morning.

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