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Press Photos by Lisa Call Above, Vernon Kuntz of Dickinson finishes moving massive amounts of snow out of his driveway, Saturday morning.

Residents digging out

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Residents digging out
Dickinson North Dakota 1815 1st Street West 58602

As the Saturday morning sun rose and winds died down, the extent of Mother Nature's work was revealed, with cars abandoned and stuck on roadways and some area businesses remaining closed following a holiday blizzard.

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A plethora of people emerged from their residences, bundled from head to toe, and began the shoveling, snowblowing and dig-out process.

Janeen Andersen, front desk clerk at Comfort Inn in Dickinson, said while the hotel was not full, quite a few people extended their stay or made last-minute reservations when major roadways closed.

"I had a lady come in today and she said she got a $20 ticket for being on the interstate and a couple guests last night said they would have went through but the sheriff or the cop was sitting there so they couldn't go through," Andersen said.

But the stays were short-lived as the North Dakota Department of Transportation lifted the no-travel advisories on highways and interstates throughout the day Saturday.

"As soon as the interstates opened they all left," Andersen said.

Officer Jeremy Moser of the Dickinson Police Department said the department witnesses a lot of people driving around when road conditions warrant staying off the streets.

"There were a lot of abandoned vehicles in the middle of the roadways where there were obviously deep drifts," Moser said. "We always like to tell them there is no travel advised, especially if they don't have a four-wheel drive vehicle. You've got to plan your routes."

Moser said the police department had no major emergencies during the blizzard and had only one ambulance call.

Moser said unless the weather is declared an emergency, any vehicle abandoned or stuck will not receive a citation.

Servicing the city becomes a group effort during extreme weather conditions.

Travis Booke, a Dickinson Ambulance Service paramedic, said he woke up every few hours to shovel the ambulance garage's driveway in case they had to respond to a call.

Driving conditions were quite treacherous Saturday morning when the team responded to a call, Booke said.

During heinous weather, the law enforcement center's dispatch will send a snowplow out with the ambulance to assist in reaching the patient, Booke said.

"It's my understanding too the fire department had extra people that they called in to sleep overnight at the fire hall, so that way if something did happen, they'd have enough guys to send a few trucks right away," Booke said. "I was told by them we had a guy sleeping at the city building that was ready, if we needed a snowplow, they'd take off right then."

Calls to the Dickinson Fire Department went unanswered.

"It's kind of neat when you think about how much stuff goes on in weather like this ... How people make sure we can get going and get where we need to get," Booke said.

The weather seemed to put Dickinson life on hold.

Perkins Restaurant & Bakery was closed Saturday.

Calls to Prairie Hills Mall at about 4 p.m. Saturday went unanswered. However, Dickinson's Wal-Mart Supercenter opened at 6 a.m.

Rick Kleinwaechter, co-owner of East End Auto & Truck Parts, a local towing company, said he has been fairly busy, but until the roads are plowed, there are some vehicles that aren't worth towing just yet.

"If people are stuck with just a car, we can pull them out, but they're not going anywhere," Kleinwaechter said. "Right now, if the road's not plowed, there isn't much we can do."

The Dickinson City Streets Department announced Saturday afternoon they will begin plowing residential streets at 5 a.m. today.

The National Weather Service in Bismarck cannot confirm how much snow Dickinson received as the NWS observer hasn't reported since Thursday.

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