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Snowstorm looms over Dickinson

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A woman blows snow off the sidewalk.
Forum file photo
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DICKINSON — The Dickinson area is expected to see anywhere from nine to 13 inches of snow over the next few days.

To be or not to blizzard?

Alex Edwards, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Bismarck, said he expects nine to thirteen inches of accumulated snow in the Dickinson area, depending particularly on how much snow falls on Wednesday.

“If we're looking at timing, you could see light snow beginning Tuesday morning, but the majority of the accumulating snow will begin Tuesday evening and last through much of Wednesday,” Edwards said during a Monday phone interview with The Dickinson Press. “We could see light snow linger into Friday.”

He explained that although the term blizzard is often used quite loosely, it has a quantifiable definition.

"So a blizzard requires sustained or frequent wind gusts of 35 miles per hour or greater; and then visibility of a quarter mile or less for a sustained period, like over three hours. So we in our winds aren't quite gonna get there," he said.

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Winds are expected to exceed 35 mph on Friday but the impact on visibility will be minimal. Once snow is a few days old it gets crusty and doesn't blow as easily.

"We're not looking at widespread whiteout conditions. But still, even after the snow ends on Friday, traveling isn't going to be terribly fun... We'll see snow across the roads and getting kicked up for sure," Edwards said.

This storm is the result of low pressure coming the far Western regions of the country.

"It's a big low pressure system that's actually produced by rain in California and now moving through... into the Southwest portions of the country. But what it's going to do is push into the Plains through tomorrow," he said. "It's drawing moisture up from essentially the Caribbean. This is a very strong southerly moisture draw."

He elaborated that this phenomenon is named after the Centennial State, and is very often the cause of snowfall levels that freeze work and school on the Western Edge.

"We call it a Colorado low because the center of the low pressure, especially at the surface, classically deepens in the Colorado area and then pushes northeast into the Dakotas," he said. "These types of systems are associated with producing heavy snow, sometimes blizzard conditions."

The post-storm is quite frigid. Edwards said that during the weekend after, Dickinson temperatures will be in the single digits and next week may "struggle to reach zero."

City ordinance

Dickinson residents are required to remove snow within 72 hours after the snow stops falling. Ice melt or sand must be spread on any icy patches within the same time period. Snow may be piled onto your yard, boulevard or in the parking lane of the street if there is no other place to put it. If possible, wait until the street has been plowed before cleaning out the end of the driveway.

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Boulevards have been designated as snow storage. In areas with boulevards, the windrow will be pushed over the curb onto the boulevard. Sections of streets that do not have driveways on both sides may have all snow windrowed to the side without driveways. Depositing snow or ice onto streets, could result in a fine not exceeding $500.00 and as much as 30 days in jail.

Residents can get quick updates by downloading the Dickinson Works smartphone application. During a storm, people to refrain from calling public works unless absolutely necessary. City Administrator Dustin Dassinger sent out a snow operations advisory on Monday, reminding citizens to remove parked cars from emergency routes if a snow emergency is declared.

School closures

Due to the predictions of a major winter storm expected to bring high winds and substantial snow accumulations of approximately one foot of snow through Thursday.

For Dickinson State University, all regularly scheduled finals will be conducted virtually on Tuesday, Dec. 13 through Thursday. Residence halls and food service will remain open. Students planning to travel over break are encouraged to leave by Monday, as weather conditions are expected to worsen significantly as the week progresses.

DSU employees are authorized to work remotely on Tuesday Thursday, unless directed otherwise. At this time fall commencement will be held as previously scheduled. For general campus questions, please contact Steve Easton’s office at 701.502.4430.

Dickinson Public Schools is also modifying its schedule due to inclement weather. Tuesday was designated an early out, with dismissal at 1 pm. For Tuesday and Wednesday RASP, rural bus routes and all school activities were canceled for. Wednesday is a virtual learning day.

DPS said they will continue monitoring weather and road reports and communicate with families by 6 am Tuesday regarding any changes. School officials acknowledged the community , but ultimately the safety of our families and staff is the top priority.

Trinity Catholic Schools will close at noon on Tuesday without serving lunch, and tentatively reopen on 9 a.m. Thursday. Parents will be notified by text or email regarding any changes.

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1211 Snow Removal (3).JPG
Snow removal in Dickinson during a previous snowfall.
Dickinson Press file photo

Related Topics: DICKINSONCITY OF DICKINSONDICKINSON STATE UNIVERSITYDICKINSON PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Jason O’Day is a University of Iowa graduate, with Bachelor’s Degrees in Journalism and Political Science. Before moving to Dickinson in September of 2021, he was a general news reporter at the Creston News Advertiser in southwest Iowa. He was born and raised in Davenport, Iowa. With a passion for the outdoors and his Catholic faith, he’s loving life on the Western Edge. His reporting focuses on Stark County government and surrounding rural communities.
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