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Cold dangers

At least one person went for a walk in the extreme subzero temperatures Wednesday in Jamestown. The Arctic blast of cold air swept through the Upper Midwest. John M. Steiner / The Sun

The leaders of two of Jamestown's law enforcement agencies spent some time sitting on the shoulder of Interstate 94 Wednesday morning with a vehicle breakdown possibly linked to the cold weather.

"We were prepared," said Scott Edinger, Jamestown chief of police. "We got the Highway Patrol to help out the truck drivers and then limped into town."

Edinger and Chad Kaiser, Stutsman County sheriff, were headed to Bismarck to testify before the North Dakota Legislature when a stalled truck signalled for them to stop. That's when the Stutsman County sheriff's vehicle decided to act up.

"It was a brand new vehicle but stuff happens," Kaiser said. "The engine was still running with the problem in the transmission."

Kaiser said the truck's thermometer showed 40 below zero at that area of interstate near Dawson. He and Edinger were dressed and prepared for the situation; under different circumstances, the situation could have turned out differently, Kaiser said.

"The people we helped at Dawson were cold," he said. "They were glad we stopped and helped them."

Cold also was to blame for a burst pipe at Raugust Library on the University of Jamestown campus. Staff there called for volunteers to move books from the area flooded by the pipe.

The worst of the cold will probably end Thursday, according to Todd Hamilton, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Bismarck.

That doesn't mean we'll see consistent good weather.

"It does look like after a brief warm up this weekend, we'll see temps go down late in the weekend and early next week," Hamilton said.

Hamilton called it a "roller coaster ride" of weather for the next week to 10 days.

"Quite a ride from this morning (Wednesday) at 30 below and frigid highs, to 30 degrees above on the weekend to early next week when we could see highs below zero again," he said.

Edinger said he felt closing businesses and halting some services during the worst of the cold was proper.

"A lot of people commented on the Postal Service halting deliveries," he said. "I couldn't imagine walking a route today (Wednesday) in this cold."

Some people's jobs still required them to work in the cold.

Cold weather is tough on mechanical equipment, according to Harold Sad, Jamestown Street Department foreman. City snow removal crews worked until 7 p.m. Tuesday dealing with snow accumulations from the weekend. Crews returned to work at 5 a.m. Wednesday.

"Cold is taxing on the hydraulics in particular," he said. "Fortunately we didn't have any breakdowns through the cold weather."

The hydraulics operate the snow gates on the plows.

"Snow gates are slow in the cold," Sad said. "Nothing works as fast in the cold."

Cold is also a challenge for farmers feeding livestock.

"Everything goes slow," said Cody Kuss, a rancher near Woodworth. "You can't rush a tractor or it will break down."

Kuss said farmers commonly increase rations for livestock in cold weather.

"Go slow and keep everyone fed," Kuss said. "That's all you can do."

The forecast for the weekend includes some snow, Hamilton said.

"Couple of inches or a little more Sunday through Monday," he said. "The roller coaster continues."