Old Man Winter strikes with vengence

Storm dumps 20 inches of snow, high winds leaves mountain drifts …


Above, left, William Roundy and Dominic Ledesma get ready to target Roundy’s sister, Lisa, with some snowballs on Tuesday. The youths were enjoying a snow day after classes were canceled due to the storm. The boys missed their target, but Lisa did not. (Photo by Bryan Gallegos)


For others, Tuesday was a time to dig out of the snow. Some used a variety of snow-removal equipment. The storm dumped up to 20 inches of snow in the northern section of Dunn County and from 14 to 16 inches in the southern portion of the county, according to the National Weather Service in Bismarck. (Photo by Bryan Gallegos)


Dunn County Herald

William Roundy and Dominic Ledesma threw snowballs and slid down mountains of snow on Tuesday afternoon.

It didn’t matter to them that the wind was whipping about 25 mph and it was snowing – the calling card of Old Man Winter. The boys and school children throughout Dunn County had a snow day.

Roundy and Ledesma targeted Roundy’s younger sister, Lisa, with a couple of snowballs. They missed. But Lisa didn’t. No harm, though. It was all in good fun.

“This is fun,” said William Roundy, who was bundled up with a heavy coat, gloves, snow pants, snow boots and a warm smile. “We didn’t think this would happen.”

At least not to this extent.

Some expected about six to eight inches of snow from the storm that grew out of a deep lower pressure system coming from the south. Instead, it dumped as much as 20 inches of snow in the northern part of the county and about 14 to 16 inches across the southern part of the county.

The storm turned a mild November into a wild November to remember. It turned roadways into ice rinks that caught so many drivers off guard and which often led to a slide into a ditch or snow drift.

“I was headed in to Dickinson on Monday and I lost control of my car,” said Sharon Granger, a teacher from Halliday. “I thought I was going at a slow, steady pace and I hit a patch of ice, I guess. Next thing I know, I’m in the ditch.”

She was pulled out by a good samaritan, who himself, was pulled out of a ditch earlier that day.

City and county crews worked diligently to clear the snow from roadways. Often, however, as quickly as it was removed, the whipping wind and blowing snow covered it up again. In Killdeer, crews used front-end loaders to clear the streets, pushing the snow to the side of the road or storing it in city-owned lots.

Those mountains of wet bliss made it a paradise for winter-fun-starved children, who scaled the icy wonders like experts. Some made snow forts, others snow angels and others simply slid down on their back sides. Until it got too cold. Then it was time for hot chocolate, the kind with the little marshmallows, one bundled-up little boy with rosy cheeks and runny nose. 

Many homeowners suffered the same frustration as they cleared sidewalks and driveways at their homes. Some used snow blowers, other did the old-fashioned way – with a shovel and a lot of sweat. They just couldn’t keep up.

“I went to lunch (Tuesday) and I had to shovel my own sidewalk three times throughout the day,” said Tony Duletski, the superintendent at Halliday School.

Yes, this was a storm to remember, said Bill Abeling, a senior forecaster with the National Weather Service in Bismarck.

“It’s a 2 1/2-day storm. That’s not typical,” Abeling said. “Getting two feet of snow in North Dakota is rare. I’m sure it’s less than 10 times in the past 100 years.”

It shut down roadways. It shut down schools. Many businesses didn’t bother to open during the storm.

The Twin Buttes school didn’t have classes Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. Halliday and Killdeer schools didn’t have school on Tuesday and had a two-hour late start.

Despite the storm’s ferocity, there were very few road fender-benders, said Denise Brew, the emergency manager for Dunn County.

One area, however, was the site of a road closure on Monday. The Brakes, north of Killdeer between mile markers 124 and 126 was closed down for several hours because a semi tractor-trailer had jack-knifed, said Dunn County Sheriff Clay Cocker.

Interstate 94 between Dickinson and Bismarck was also shut down for a while, said Brew. At the time, the Killdeer Ambulance was en route to Bismarck and had to return via a different route, she said.

“This was a major storm,” said Brew. “We’ve been kind of spoiled lately. Since 2010-2011, we really have had a bad winter.”

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