Weather Forecast


Snow plows and roof repairs follow winds' wake

A semi and snow blocks U.S. Highway 281 near Brinsmade, N.D., about 30 miles northwest of Devils Lake on Wednesday morning. George Herman / Submitted photo

DEVILS LAKE, N.D. — Roads closed by Tuesday's whiteout conditions reopened Wednesday, March 8, as plows cleared highways in northern North Dakota after winds exceeding 60 mph swept snow through the region.

The winds hampered travel throughout the region, while leaving homes in Grand Forks with only minor damage.

Several highways closed because of drifting snow and low visibility were reopened, including U.S. Highway 2 between Devils Lake and Minot, as well as State Highways 57 and 20. Intense winds and drifting snow caused numerous problems for travelers in North Dakota Tuesday and Wednesday. The Devils Lake Regional Airport recorded a wind speed of 64 mph during that period, while Grand Forks International Airport had gusts of 61 mph.

A no-travel advisory issued Tuesday for the area was lifted by Wednesday morning.

Travelers were out on the roads despite the no-travel advisory. The Highway Patrol received numerous reports of abandoned vehicles on highways across the state, Patrol Lt. Troy Hischer said.

Two semis were abandoned about 6 miles south of U.S. Highway 2 near Brinsmade, N.D., about 30 miles northwest of Devils Lake, on Highway 281. Plows responded to the abandoned vehicles Wednesday morning, and Hischer said the semis had been there since at least Tuesday night.

"If you ask me, the bigger story is that there is no travel advised and there are people still driving out there," he said. "They can't see and they are running into each other."

Up to 10 vehicles were involved in a pileup caused by a semi crash east of Devils Lake, though only minor injuries were reported.

Plows continued to clear highways Wednesday near Minot and Devils Lake, according to the North Dakota Department of Transportation. Devils Lake Public Schools and other nearby schools were running two hours late that day, according to the district's main office.

Safe at home

While the gusty system could be expected to leave many roofs in town with noticeable damage, the result was relatively sparse.

"I anticipated it being a little worse," said Aaron Dunphy, an agent with Farmer's Insurance.

Dunphy said the worst damage he was aware of was out on the edge of town, but throughout the area he serves, he said the damage was pretty light.

"It says something about the quality of construction in town," Dunphy said.

John Vikander, regional sales manager for D&M Roofing and Siding, said they were responding to a few calls on Wednesday morning.

"We've got boots on the ground," Vikander said.

He said it can take a while before contractors can complete repairs, especially if they're extensive.

They do what they can to provide temporary repairs to protect a home from leaks, if possible, but complete repairs has to wait for the adjuster.

Dunphy said with the damage being minor, he wasn't sure clients would pass their deductible.

"It'll be hit or miss," he said.

Jason Berger, owner of Berger Contracting, said he saw some definite shingle damage, especially to newer roofs and those that are more than 10 years old.

The adhesives on roofs put up last fall haven't had time to really bond through the cold winter, making the shingles vulnerable to winds.

Roofs with double shingling also sustained damage, he said, because the nails have to penetrate more layers before fastening to the wood below.


Winds became calmer Wednesday evening, according to the National Weather Service in Grand Forks. Low temperatures are expected Thursday, with wind chills making it feel like negative 20 degrees or colder, meteorologists said Wednesday.

Expect high temperatures to stay in the mid-teens to low 20s Saturday into next week, with lows dipping into the single digits. Snow is possible Sunday for northeast North Dakota, as well as Friday night for Devils Lake, but the rest of the week likely will be clear of precipitation, according to the weather service.

April Baumgarten

April Baumgarten joined the Grand Forks Herald May 19, 2015, and covers crime and education. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, where her family raises registered Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at Jamestown (N.D.) College, now known as University of Jamestown. During her time at the college, she worked as a reporter and editor-in-chief for the university's newspaper, The Collegian. Baumgarten previously worked for The Dickinson Press as a city government and energy reporter in 2011 before becoming the editor of the Hazen Star and Center Republican. She then returned to The Press as a news editor, where she helped lead an award-winning newsroom in recording the historical oil boom.

Have a story idea? Contact Baumgarten at 701-780-1248.

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