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Jamestown, Valley City are among cities in travel alert

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The North Dakota Department of Transportation has issued a travel alert for tonight and tomorrow due to high winds and blowing snow which may create reduced visibility while traveling. Motorists are advised that weather and road conditions may deteriorate overnight.

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Cities in the alert include: Minot, Devils Lake, Bismarck, Jamestown, Valley City, Fargo, Wahpeton and surrounding areas.

Road closures in effect:

* N.D. Highway 57 south of Devils Lake from the junction of N.D. 20 to Fort Totten is temporarily closed until further notice.Strong winds are creating waves which are washing water over the roadway and leaving debris, creating hazardous travel conditions. As temperatures drop overnight, the water on the roadway may freeze and create icy conditions. The condition of the road will be evaluated in the morning.

The NDDOT informs the public about specific road conditions throughout the state. Travelers should become familiar with the following category of travel condition information:

Travel alerts: issued to alert motorists that areas of challenging winter weather driving conditions may be encountered. Conditions are such that motorists can still travel; however, they should be aware that rapidly changing conditions may result in travel delays due to reduced speeds and visibility.

No-travel advisories: issued when conditions warrant no travel but not a road closure. No-travel advisories have the potential to change to a road closure if conditions deteriorate. They are issued for public safety to encourage motorists not to venture out onto the roads. Motorists are urged to take no-travel advisories seriously. Conditions change often during a storm event and motorists may become stranded if they are caught between destinations.

Roads are closed: when conditions create a life-threatening danger to motorists and the roadway is impassable. It is against the law to drive past a road closure device on a closed road. Motorists should obey road closures, even when a sign or a gate is not present.

All travelers are encouraged to monitor road conditions, reduce traffic speeds as weather conditions occur and use caution while traveling. For road information, call 511 from any type of phone or go to the website: www.dot.nd.gov.Information on 511 and the travel map is updated daily from 5 a.m. until 9 p.m. CST. The road report is based upon the information available to the NDDOT at the time of preparation and is provided solely as a public service. Conditions may vary from those reported.

If motorists become stranded they should stay with their vehicle and call 911for emergency assistance.

Here are some tips for sharing the roads with snowplows:

* Stay well back. Sometimes snowplows have to stop and back up and they often spread sanding material.

* Know where the plow is on multi-lane roadways. The plow could be in either lane or on the shoulder.

* Be extremely cautious when passing a snowplow. They can be moved sideways by drifts and hard snow pack.

* Never drive through "white-outs" or "snow fog," caused by cross winds or plowing snow. Snowplows pull over and stop frequently to allow traffic to pass. Be patient and wait until you can see.

* Watch for plow trucks on interstate ramps and "authorized vehicle only" cross-overs.

* Don't assume that you'll have good traction because the road looks sanded. The sand can sink into the snow pack, leaving a slick surface.

* Slow down and drive according to the conditions. Most winter crashes are caused by driving too fast for conditions.

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