Winter storms hit North DakotaBISMARCK (AP) — A weather system moving out of the Rockies and into the Upper Midwest was putting a damper on the Thanksgiving holiday in the Dakotas, threatening to cause problems for travelers.
BISMARCK (AP) — A weather system moving out of the Rockies and into the Upper Midwest was putting a damper on the Thanksgiving holiday in the Dakotas, threatening to cause problems for travelers.
The National Weather Service on Wednesday issued a batch of winter weather advisories, watches and warnings through Thursday morning for North Dakota and South Dakota. The poor conditions were expected to range from freezing drizzle in the eastern two-thirds of South Dakota to a possible blizzard in eastern North Dakota.
“I wouldn’t want to be out and about today,” said Jeff Savadel, meteorologist in charge at the weather service office in Bismarck. Poor traveling conditions “are a good bet,” he said.
The heaviest snow was expected in northwest and north central North Dakota, which could see up to 8 inches by this afternoon, but Savadel said blowing snow was likely to cause problems for holiday travelers even in areas not expected to get significant amounts.
“We have snow on the ground in many areas, and any snow on top of that will combine for the potential to blow around, reduce visibility and drift, and cause problems for people trying to drive,” he said.
State officials in both Dakotas issued statements urging people to be cautious.
“It’s the first winter storm of the season for South Dakota, so we want to remind people to start thinking travel safety,” said Kristi Turman, director of the state Office of Emergency Management. “We know many people want to travel to be with family and friends for Thanksgiving. Please pay attention to the weather, travel early if you can and check road reports before you leave.”
Long-haul trucker Gene Wilkinson was traveling from Detroit to Anchorage and made a stop Wednesday in Bismarck to purchase some tire chains for his semitrailer as the weather worsened.
Wilkinson is based in Detroit and has been a professional driver for 24 years. He’s made dozens of trips from his home to Alaska over the years but said the worst weather he’s seen was in North Dakota last winter.
“They closed the road last year because the wind and snow was blowing cars and trucks off the highway,” he said.
Gerald Miller kept busy Wednesday plowing roads on his farm about four miles east of Bismarck.
Miller, 52, has spent every winter of his life in North Dakota except for one in 2003 when he served in Iraq with the National Guard.