Interstate 29 closed, no-travel advisory in effect
The Jamestown area is in for a one-two punch of winter weather, according to Adam Jones a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Bismarck.
A low pressure system moving out of the Colorado area of the Rocky Mountains brought snow and wind. Cold arctic air is following to bring together a mix of snow, blowing snow and frigid wind chills for much of North Dakota for Thursday.
The gusty winds of up to 30 mph will bring near-blizzard conditions through much of the day. The NWS has issued a winter weather advisory for south-central North Dakota through 9 a.m. Thursday. Details of the advisory called for up to 6 inches of snow, winds to 30 mph and wind chills to 25 degrees below zero.
The North Dakota Department of Transportation and the North Dakota Highway Patrol have closed Interstate 29 northbound and southbound lanes from Fargo to Grand Forks effective at 9:45 p.m. Wednesday.
The closing was due to life-threatening driving conditions from blowing and drifting snow that created icy roadways with near-zero visibility, according to the NDDOT.
Motorists who drive past a road closure device may be fined up to $250.
A no-travel advisory remains in effect for northeastern North Dakota and includes Cando, Rugby, Maddock, Carrington, Devils Lake, Grafton, Michigan, Grand Forks, Hillsboro and surrounding areas. A travel alert remains in effect for the remainder of North Dakota.
Motorists should not travel due to hazardous conditions that may make it unsafe to travel. Motorists travel at their own risk in a no-travel advisory, and emergency responders might not be able to reach stranded drivers safely.
A statewide travel alert remains in effect for North Dakota as wintery conditions are rapidly changing, NDDOT said. The alert includes the entire state due to snow and blowing snow causing reduced visibility and snowdrifts at bridges, guard rails and other sheltered areas, according to NDDOT.
Jones said the heaviest amounts of snow are expected north of Jamestown with lesser amounts to the south. However, the entire region will see lower temperatures with Thursday, Friday and Saturday all forecast to have high temperatures below zero.
The forecast includes snow flurries Friday.
“The pattern over the next week is really cold,” Jones said. “Late next week we could be in for another system just like this one, though.”
The snow Wednesday night will add to the 8.5 inches of snow Jamestown has received so far this winter. Normal for this time of year would be about 18 inches of snow, Jones said.
“This storm won’t get us back to normal,” he said, “but there is still plenty of winter left.”