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Update: DOT pulls snowplows; travel alert extended

A travel alert issued by the North Dakota Department of Transportation has been extended to include the Devils Lake area and also remains in effect for western, central and south eastern portions of North Dakota through Saturday morning.

NDDOT snowplows have been working since early morning hours and throughout the day, therefore snow plows have been pulled from the roads at this time. The plows will resume operation early Saturday. Conditions are such that motorists can still travel, but should be advised that heavy snow continues to accumulate in the passing lane of four-lane highways and rural two-lane roads. Motorists should be advised of reduced visibility when meeting and passing vehicles and are encouraged to reduce speeds.

Cities affected by the travel alert include: Williston, Dickinson, Minot, Bismarck, Devils Lake, Jamestown, Valley City, Fargo, Wahpeton and surrounding areas.

The follow are safety tips from DOT to help you arrive at your destination safely:

* Turn on your lights. This will increase your visibility to other motorists.

* Reduce speeds as motorists may encounter scattered snow drifts and icy patches.

* 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 or other vehicles and never drive through "white-outs" or "snow fog," caused by cross winds or plowing snow.

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

* Slow down and drive according to the conditions.

* Be patient. Remember snowplows are working to improve road conditions for your trip.

* Stay back at least five car lengths behind the plow, far from the snow fog.

NDDOT releases information to inform the public about travel conditions throughout the state. The three categories are as follows:

1. Travel alerts are issued to alert motorists that areas of challenging winter driving conditions may be encountered on roadways. 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.

2. No-travel advisories are 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. No-travel advisories are issued for public safety to encourage motorists not to venture out onto the roads. Motorists are urged to take these advisories seriously. Conditions change often during a storm event and motorists may become stranded if they are caught between destinations.

3. Roads are closed when conditions create a life-threatening danger to motorists. The roadway is impassable and 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: Please be advised that 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.