Winter storm ices up county, roads

Officials are advising caution while driving on local roads. Herald photo / Brad Mosher

The first big winter storm of the season iced up not only the Dunn County roads but put local events on ice.

The storm hit Friday, forcing the cancellation of a junior high wrestling tournament in Dickinson and later a high school wrestling tournament was also canceled.

By Brad Mosher

The Herald

The North Dakota Department of Transportation issued a travel alert Friday covering the area from Beach, Dickinson, Mott, Killdler, Beulah and surrounding areas.

The area from Killdeer to Glen Ullin to Solen was among the locations described by a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Bismarck as being hit with “heavy snow.” There were reports of between four to five inches by Friday evening.

In more than half of Dunn County, there were projections of more than six to eight inches of snow covering the area from New Town southeast and was wide enough to include Washburn and Bismark to the east.

In addition, winds were gusting to 40 mies per hour in places.

According to Mike ZImmerman, the road superintendent for Dunn County, people should slow down and drive to the conditions.

He had his crews out Friday during the storm doing some sanding on the county roads.

“We were out doing some sanding and stuff on the pavement.

Winter driving means driving more cautiously on local roads, county officials stress. Herald photo / Brad Mosher

“Normally, we don’t go out and do snow removal on gravel roads when we get about four inches of snow,” he said Monday.

The local roads were getting hit with a double whammy Friday, the road superintendent said.

“The rain and then the snow, it sticks to the pavement,” he explained. “Most people will drive to the conditions, but there are a few that don’t ,,, and end up in the ditch or wherever.

“We are darned if we do and darned if we don’t. You scrape off the sludge that is on top, then it is actually got icy. If you put sand on it and it is nowing and blowing, then the drifting sticks to the road,” he said.

When people are driving on hills, it just seems worse, Zimmerman said.

For the most part, it was the same across the whole county, he added.

“You get more traffic closer to Killdeer, which increases the chance that you can slide off the road or having issues.

“Realistically, whereever their is more traffic, there is more of a chance for an incident.

“On Saturday, there was a guy driving too fast and passed a corner. He backed up and slid into a ditch,” Zimmerman said. “He didn’t have any chains put on so they had to offload the truck.

“Other than that, I didn’t really hear of anything on the county roads,” he added.

“Hopefully, it will get better. The snow is a lot easier to deal with. When you get that freezing drizzle and the temperatures are down where they are, it has a tendency to stick to the roads.

“Then, you’ll have issues. When it gets colder and the snow just blows across, you just clean it off. It is not icy underneath – unless we don’t get out there quick enough to pack it down.

“Then that presents a problem too because you get that compacted snow on the road that is hard to get off. It takes a long time (to get it off),” he said.

When the weather gets bad, Zimmerman stressed that people should slow down and drive to the conditions.

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