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Winter storm causes business, road closures

Jamestown received 10 inches of snow Tuesday into Wednesday morning, April 4-6.

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A Jamestown resident clears his driveway after an April blizzard dumped another 10 inches to add to the existing mounds of snow.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

JAMESTOWN – A winter storm in April caused many businesses and public offices to be closed Wednesday, April 5, and many road closures in the Jamestown area.

Jamestown received 10 inches of snow Tuesday into Wednesday morning, April 4-5, according to measurements taken at 6 a.m. at the North Dakota State Hospital. The 10 inches of snow had a moisture content of 0.72 inches, said Alex Edwards, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Bismarck.

A blizzard warning remains in effect until midnight Thursday, April 6.

The Jamestown area saw blizzard-like conditions on Tuesday and Wednesday, April 4-5.

Interstate 94 from Bismarck to West Fargo was closed all day on Wednesday. As of 5:15 p.m., I-94 was still closed from Bismarck to West Fargo along with U.S. Highway 281 from Jamestown to the South Dakota border, U.S. Highway 52/281 from Jamestown to near Balfour, U.S. Highway 46 from Streeter to Interstate 29, N.D. Highway 20 from Jamestown to Glenfield and N.D. Highway 36 from Pingree to Wilton among others.

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Snow has filled in on a street leaving a mailbox stranded near the curb as seen Wednesday, April 5, 2023 in Jamestown.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

The winds and fresh snow were causing road conditions to deteriorate late Wednesday afternoon, according to Chief Deputy Jason Falk with the Stutsman County Sheriff’s Office. He said the visibility was zero at times with the high winds depending on the location and people should stay home.

“It’s pretty much impassable,” he said.

He said there were more vehicles that got stuck on Wednesday than on Tuesday including on I-94 and old Stutsman County Highway 10. He said the motorists who were stuck were usually not from the local area and tried to get around I-94 by taking Highway 10 or N.D. Highway 36.

“The roads, there is so much snow in the ditches and ridges and they just fill in,” he said. “We just followed a county payloader out on Old 10 and we went out, turned around and came back, and it’s already filled in.”

Jamestown Police Department officer Joe Gushwa said the roads were “pretty good” in the valley in Jamestown. He said at about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday that the emergency routes were wide open and city crews were just finishing plowing on Main Street.

“Up on both hills, it’s starting to drift back,” he said, referring to northeast and southwest Jamestown.

Police officer Kourtney Renfro said the Jamestown Police Department responded to a couple of vehicles that were stuck in the snow or ditch and were unoccupied in southwest Jamestown.

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A man knocks down the snow from the edge of a roof in Jamestown on Wednesday, April 5, 2023.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

Due to the weather conditions and blowing snow, garbage and recycling collection for Wednesday and Thursday will be tentatively collected a day late.

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Snow removal was expected to begin Wednesday afternoon in residential areas and continue until finished. City crews are expected to begin clearing snow in the downtown business district at 11 p.m. Wednesday and continue until finished.

Rick Lipetzky, street foreman, said Monday that city crews take the snow to a location near Wilhelm Chevrolet Buick GMC, north of Louis L’Amour Elementary School, a dump site by the North Dakota National Guard’s armory and the old Porter Brothers location.

“All of the sites are actually getting full,” he said.

During this time of the year, Lipetzky said city crews have to be careful with the locations such as the area by Wilhelm Chevrolet Buick GMC, which is owned by Jamestown Parks and Recreation.

“This time of the year, we don’t want to go in there and rut it all up, so sometimes we can’t use that,” he said. “So then we have to haul the snow further yet, use city property, so all that comes into play too which would make for a longer haul, which takes longer.”

After it snows, he said some vehicles may sit in one spot for a while after a snowstorm and get in the way of the city crews working on snow removal.

“When the water starts running, the turnout (the snow around the vehicle after the street is plowed) that goes around the vehicle, it dams up the water so the water doesn’t run down the street,” Lipetzky said. ”… After it snows, when we get the town cleaned up, we go back for two, three days and drive around and clean stuff up with the blades. If there is a turnout where there is not a vehicle there, we do push them over.”

Members of the Police Department are authorized to remove or cause to be removed any vehicle from within the city if vehicles are left unattended and illegally parked, according to Section 21-09-20 of the Jamestown city code.

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Renfro said vehicles on the street are allowed to park in one location for 48 hours. She said officers chalk the tires if there is a report of a nonmoving vehicle and are given 48 hours before a ticket is issued. She said a letter is sent to the vehicle owner the same day a citation is written for a nonmoving violation. She said the letter will state that the vehicle has to be removed from the location or it will be towed.

Vehicles should be parked off the street so city crews can open up the streets properly, said Detective Capt. LeRoy Gross with the Jamestown Police Department. He said many of the streets are getting a lot narrower from the snowfall this year.

Edwards said the temperatures will rise to the 40s and 50s early next week. He said the snowpack will help keep the temperatures a little lower in eastern North Dakota compared to the western side of the state.

Masaki Ova joined The Jamestown Sun in August 2021 as a reporter. He grew up on a farm near Pingree, N.D. He majored in communications at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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