Winter Storm Warning: 'Gandolf' expected to bring 4 to 8 inches of snowA winter storm — named “Gandolf” by The Weather Channel — is set to pummel most of North Dakota and about two-thirds of South Dakota today, bringing with it barely above-zero temperatures that will hang around through the weekend.
By: Katherine Grandstrand, The Dickinson Press
A winter storm — named “Gandolf” by The Weather Channel — is set to pummel most of North Dakota and about two-thirds of South Dakota today, bringing with it barely above-zero temperatures that will hang around through the weekend.
Dickinson and the rest of southwest North Dakota is forecast to experience 4 to 8 inches of snow while Bismarck, Jamestown and the rest of the central part of the state is expected see between 6 and 10 inches, said Bismarck-based National Weather Service meteorologist Lindsay Tardif-Huber.
“It’s going to start out as freezing drizzle late (Thursday) evening,” Tardif-Huber said. “It’s going to eventually change over to all snow (this) morning. We’re expecting northerly winds, winds out of the north, blowing up to 30 mph.”
Due to warmer temperatures the past few days in Dickinson, travel is expected to become difficult as the storm moves through.
“There is always the possibility for icy conditions,” Stark County Emergency Manager Bill Fahlsing said. “So we’re asking all travelers to drive with caution and treat all roads as though they are icy, and along with that having a survival kit for winter driving in their vehicle and being prepared.”
North Dakota Department of Transportation crews were out spraying saltwater solution and making other preparations Thursday so roads could be in their best condition before the storm hit, operations section supervisor Brandon Beise said.
With the wind chill, temperatures will be 30 to 35 degrees below zero, Tardif-Huber said. Saturday, Sunday and Monday are expected to see highs around zero, and Tuesday could climb into the 20s.
“We’re looking at six days out,” she said Thursday. “That could change.”
And the highs get lower the further north one travels.
It’s important to check road conditions before heading anywhere during or shortly after a storm, Beise said.
“With these storms, the conditions change so quickly and just vary from area to area,” NDDOT spokeswoman Jamie Olson said.
The NDDOT Travel Information map is updated every few hours — more if there’s a weather event, he said. Snowplow operators on the roads are the ones calling in conditions. NDDOT also has cameras set up throughout the state — some still, some video — that allows travelers to see real-time conditions.
“If you didn’t believe that it was really snow-covered, you look at a camera and see, ‘Oh, it is,’” Beise said.
Before a storm strikes, it’s important to make sure all supplies are on hand, Fahlsing said. This includes medicine, food, water and diapers.
“If we do have a large snow event and you’re either stuck inside your home or essential services, such as grocery stores, are not open, (make sure) that you have enough supplies on hand to get you through the storm,” he said.
NDDOT doesn’t have any specific event that would shut down interstate highways, but it could happen if driver safety were jeopardized, Beise said.
With the cold temperatures following the snow, people should watch out for frostbite and hypothermia, according to information from Stark County Emergency Services. Signs of frostbite include lack of feeling in the affected area, skin that appears waxy, is cold to the touch, or is discolored. Some of the symptoms of hypothermia are slow, shallow breathing, confusion and memory loss, drowsiness or exhaustion, and slurred or mumbled speech.
Those living in RVs should take special precautions, such as making sure they have enough fuel and making sure it is insulated safely and properly.
To ensure quick clearing of the streets, all residents should be aware of the emergency snow routes and not park along them, Fahlsing said.
Emergency 911 calls should be left to true emergencies, life or death situations, he said, but if assistance is needed, residents can call the non-emergency numbers for the proper agency.
To check the NDDOT travel information map, visit http://www.dot.nd.gov/travel-info-v2/, call 511 or visit www.dot.nd.gov/travelinfo/m on a mobile device, but not while driving.