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Slipping and sliding: Storm causes accidents, power outages in the area

Electric cooperatives are still trying to get the power on for about 1,100 rural residences in central North Dakota after the first major snowfall of the season dumped up to 8 inches in parts of the area, according to Katie Ryan-Anderson, manager...

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A convoy of trucks, backed up from a jackknifed semi-truck, passes by a motorist stuck in the median of Interstate 94 Wednesday west of Jamestown JOHN M. STEINER | THE SUN.

 

Electric cooperatives are still trying to get the power on for about 1,100 rural residences in central North Dakota after the first major snowfall of the season dumped up to 8 inches in parts of the area, according to Katie Ryan-Anderson, manager of member communications for Dakota Valley Electric and Northern Plains Electric cooperatives.

"With winds picking up things have gotten worse," she said Wednesday afternoon.

There were approximately 800 customers of Dakota Valley Electric without power in the Millarton, Gackle and Jud areas as of about 3 p.m. Wednesday. About 300 Northern Plains Electric customers were also without electricity at that same time.

"The outages for some of those customers could last throughout the night and into Thursday," Ryan-Anderson said.

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The cooperatives were bringing in third-party contractors to help with the repairs. Those crews were expected to arrive Wednesday night with plans to begin work at first light Thursday.

"Right now we need a break from the wind, snow and ice," Ryan-Anderson said, referring to the ice and frost that had formed on power lines causing the downed lines.

The ice and snow were caused by a weather system that dropped as much as 8 inches of snow in the Zeeland and Ashley areas and 4 to 6 inches of snow in Stutsman County, according to Bill Abeling, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Bismarck.

Jamestown officially reported 4 inches as of 6 a.m. Wednesday at the North Dakota State Hospital. The National Weather Service reported 5 inches in Jamestown as of noon.

The snow also caused serious problems for travelers. North Dakota Highway Patrol troopers were busy all day dealing with accidents between Valley City and Medina, Sgt. Ben Kennelly said.

"There was a semi that jackknifed near mile marker 247 that closed both eastbound lanes," he said. "We had multiple cars that went into the ditch avoiding that."

The Stutsman County Sheriff’s Office was also busy dealing with rural accidents.

"We’ve had more than five or six accidents," said Deputy Matt Thom of the Stutsman County Sheriff’s Office Wednesday afternoon. "Large number of vehicles in the ditch as well."

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Thom said ice on the roads from precipitation Monday was covered by snow that fell Wednesday, making travel hazardous.

"There was a lot of traffic out there and people don’t slow down," he said. "We have to get out at these crashes and slow them down. People need to slow down, especially when they see the flashing lights of emergency vehicles."

While the snow ended Wednesday afternoon, wind could continue to be an issue through Thursday with some gusts up to 30 mph, Abeling said.

"We’ll have drifting snow and in the open country there could be blowing snow reducing visibility," he said.

Crews from the Jamestown Street Department were continuing round-the-clock snow removal operations Wednesday night.

Friday looks to be the coldest day of the season so far with daytime highs between 10 and 13 degrees, Abeling said. Wind chills in the morning could range from 10 to 20 degrees below zero.

"Forecast is for warmer weather over the weekend with temperatures in the mid-20s," he said.

Abeling said there are no storm systems in the immediate forecast. However, the 10-day forecast calls for precipitation and temperatures near freezing for the end of next week and the Christmas holiday.

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"Not a big storm but that pesky stuff," he said.

knorman@jamestownsun.com

(701) 952-8452

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courtesy | Katie Ryan-Anderson Crews from Northern Plains Electric Cooperative prepare to replace a broken power pole Wednesday near Windsor. About 1,100 residences in Northern Plains Electric and Dakota Valley Electric cooperatives' service areas were without power as of Wednesday afternoon due to the storm.

Related Topics: WEATHER
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