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Sticking around: Cold weather expected to hang on

A semi truck is pulled over at the Intersection of Business Loop East and Interstate 94 on Thursday morning as a gate closes the road in the opposite direction because of continuing blowing snow. Tom LaVenture / The Sun1 / 3
A pedestrian makes her way through snow and cold wind Thursday morning along 10th Street Southeast near 6th Avenue in Jamestown. Tom LaVenture / The Sun2 / 3
A man shovels his walk Thursday morning along 7th Avenue Northeast near 7th Street. Tom LaVenture / The Sun3 / 3

Don’t look for normal temperatures in the forecast for the next few weeks, according to Adam Jones, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Bismarck.

“Colder than normal all next week with on and off snow,” he said. “Outlook is not promising beyond that. Cold pattern for several weeks at least.”

The cold continues even after the system that dumped at least 7 inches of snow on the Jamestown area exits the area. The North Dakota State Hospital measured 7 inches of snow from 6 a.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Thursday. Jones estimated another inch of snow fell on Jamestown through Thursday morning and early afternoon.

Snow and blowing snow prompted a no travel advisory for all of eastern North Dakota that was issued Wednesday night and continued Thursday. The North Dakota Department of Transportation closed eastbound Interstate 94 from Jamestown to Fargo, westbound Interstate 94 from Fargo to Valley City and Interstate 29 from Grand Forks to Fargo Thursday morning. I-29 was later closed to the South Dakota border.

Thursday afternoon, the DOT warned travelers that parking areas for trucks in communities where the interstate was closed were becoming congested. Truckers were urged to stop before reaching areas where the roads were closed.

Some counties in the Red River Valley pulled snowplows from the roads due to low visibility and blowing snow Thursday.

Jamestown city crews worked early Thursday before taking a break until 11 p.m. when they planned on clearing the downtown area. Crews would return to the emergency routes and residential areas Friday morning.

Mickey Nenow, Stutsman County road superintendent, said plows were out on county roads but not making much progress Thursday.

“It was blowing in as fast as they were pushing it off the road,” he said. “Hopefully there is less wind on Friday.”

Stutsman County plows will start over with the county roads on Friday and move to township roads when the county road network is open.

The accumulation of snow is beginning to create additional problems on rural roads.

“The ditches are filling,” Nenow said. “There is snow piling up along the roads.”

Snowbanks and piles of snow pushed off the road by the plow create situations where the road is below the level of the snow alongside the road.

“That (the road) fills in with snow quicker the next time it blows,” Nenow said.

Cold conditions slowed some equipment but didn’t cause major problems, Nenow said.

Crews will have to continue to endure the cold for the foreseeable future, Jones said.

“Friday’s highs should be a balmy 10 to 12 degrees below zero,” he said. “We don’t even get above zero until Monday.”

Normal temperatures this time of year would be a high in the low 20s and overnight lows a few degrees above zero.

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