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City digs out from storm

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Whiteout driving conditions occur Thursday on the road leading to Jamestown Regional Medical Center from the Menards area. A storm dropped at least 10 inches of snow on Jamestown and a blizzard created the whiteout conditions. John M. Steiner / The Sun2 / 2

A snow storm that brought more than 10 inches of snow and winds over 50 mph kept most people home and limited calls to a few stuck vehicles, said Lt. Robert Opp, the day shift supervisor of the Jamestown Police Department.

A no travel advisory in effect for Jamestown and Interstate 94 and Interstate 29 remained closed from Bismarck to Fargo throughout the night. The North Dakota Department of Transportation is bringing in more equipment to remove stuck vehicles.

“The snow is still blowing pretty bad out there,” Opp said. “They still haven't opened the interstate.”

A no travel advisory for the city is just that, said Bill Carow, owner of K.D. Towing in Jamestown.

“It’s crazy,” he said. “People are stuck everywhere.”

There was just no visibility, he said. One of his tow trucks has been stuck between Medina and Jamestown since 5 a.m., he said.

The Stutsman County Sheriff’s Office responded to accidents, stranded drivers and driving people to essential jobs, said Sheriff Chad Kaiser. Deputies switched to the department’s tracked GMC Humvee truck to reach people stuck in the ditch in Ypsilanti, an accident in Woodworth with no injuries and a semi truck driver stuck at the rest area west of Jamestown without food and water, he said.

“The roads were bad and we were busy,” Kaiser said. “We had to get employees to the hospital using the track vehicle.”

Katie Ryan-Anderson, marketing manager for Jamestown Regional Medical Center, said responders and city crews were there for hospital staff when they were needed.

“People were out their risking their own safety and well-being to take care of other people in the community,” she said.

There were around 25 JRMC employees working Thursday to care for 14 patients, a mother and baby in the birth center and emergencies coming in, Ryan-Anderson said. Staff were covering for others who could not drive in the weather, including medical, laundry and nutrition departments, she said.

The JRMC plant team was moving knee-deep snow from 3 a.m. through Thursday, she said. “Just because the weather is bad the hospital never stops working,” Ryan-Anderson said.

City crews were on hand with plows to escort ambulances on calls and to JRMC, said Tova Noreen, a paramedic with Jamestown Area Ambulance.

“It’s been pretty difficult getting to the calls,” Noreen said.

An ambulance leaving for a call got stuck right in front of the station. Jim Reuther, chief of Jamestown Fire Department, used a payloader to help free the ambulance, she said.

The storm came through pretty close to what was forecast except the snow accumulation moved a little more east than predicted, said Zack Hargrove, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Bismarck.

The North Dakota State Hospital snowfall measurement of 10 inches in Jamestown was taken at 8 a.m. Thursday, and there was likely some additional snow, he said. That will be more difficult to measure with the amount of blowing snow, he said.

“The highest measurement for this entire storm was about 16 inches just northeast of Ashley,” Hargrove said. “The southern James River Valley in LaMore, Dickey, Logan and McIntosh counties got the brunt of it but Jamestown got buried pretty good.”

Jamestown Regional Airport was closed Thursday with reported wind gusts of 58 mph, Hargrove said. There was a 58 mph wind gust was reported in Oakes and Sterling, and gusts hit 62 mph south of Medina and 60 mph bear Belcourt, he said.

Around 4 p.m. Thursday the blizzard warning transitioned to a winter weather advisory, he said. Blowing and drifting snow will continue to decrease visibility, he said.

“Travel will be impacted but not quite as bad as blizzard conditions,” Hargrove said. “Conditions should keep improving throughout the afternoon and nighttime hours.”

There are a couple of weak systems moving through the area this weekend that might bring some light precipitation, he said. Temperatures should start to increase next week with a possibility of low 50s in western North Dakota, he said.