While southwest North Dakota families celebrated Thanksgiving with a meal, members of the Dickinson street crews began work on the icy roads.
Primary routes in the city have been treated, while a limited ice treatment was performed on residential streets. According to city officials, heavy snows will have the department working throughout the weekend.
A press release by the city reads: “As a significant snow event is predicted to move into our area later today, we anticipate crews will begin plowing overnight and will continue throughout the weekend. To increase efficiency and safety, we ask that no cars be parked on emergency snow routes once the snow has begun to accumulate, which is expected to be Friday evening.”
According to the release, the city expects an official snow emergency declaration Friday night which would continue until all routes are cleared. Once the declaration is made, any vehicles parked on emergency snow routes will be towed at the owner's expense.
As this is expected to be a major event, city officials are warning residents that parking should be limited as much as possible on all streets in order to allow crews to clear them as safely and efficiently as possible.
“With the ice, freezing temperatures, and predicted snowfall, we caution everyone to stay inside and travel only if necessary and to use extreme caution in driving or walking,” the release read. “Any additional updates will be posted on the City of Dickinson website and departmental Facebook pages.”
Dickinson is not unique to icy road conditions. The North Dakota Transportation Travel Information Map indicates that Highway 22 and Interstate 94, in the Dickinson area, are currently covered in scattered ice.
The update, issued Thursday morning, shows likely snow coming to town further complicating already icy road conditions.
A winter storm warning will be in effect from Friday at 5 p.m. to Sunday at 11 a.m.
According to the National Weather Service, snow accumulations could total 9-15 inches south of US Highway 2 and 4-7 inches along and north of US Highway 2.
According to state officials, motorists should carry a cell phone with an external charger, wear appropriate type and layers of clothing to keep warm and dry, have a full tank of gas before heading out of town, and ensure someone is aware of their time of leaving, the route traveling and expected time of arrival.
The North Dakota Transportation website also includes examples of an ideal vehicle emergency kit, including jumper cables; sand, kitty litter and carpet strips for gaining traction; a whistle, flares or reflective triangles; a coffee can furnace to keep warm; newspapers for insulation in clothing; a flashlight with extra batteries, ice scraper and a small shovel.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, nearly 4,900 fatal crashes occur on an annual basis in adverse weather or on slick pavement.