November 13, 2008

Winter

Winter

arrives in big way

By Stu Merry

"Snowness."

"Snovember"

That’s what some were calling it.

But this past week, words a lot stronger than that were more than likely used as Mother Nature flexed her muscles, creating difficult driving conditions – at best. Winter made its grand entrance in a big way. Wednesday night, Nov. 5, brought rain and freezing drizzle. Thursday was ushered in with heavy wet snow driven by winds in excess of 40 mph, creating whiteout conditions throughout the day.

According to Sharon Schwarz, official weather observer in Garrison, 8.5 inches of snow fell in the area. The snow made travel virtually impossible. Traffic crept to a minimum, and no travel was advised on a number of western North Dakota roads, including Highway 83 from Minot to Garrison. The early season storm saw numerous stuck vehicles as underneath the snow was ice and water.

According to the North Dakota Highway Patrol, Highway 83 was closed south of Minot most of Thursday and did not re-open until mid-afternoon Friday

After days of temps in the 50s, the temperature hovered near freezing all day.

Friday saw snowplows attending to snow-covered roads, and shovelers were seen busily cleaning snow from driveways and sidewalks. Some residents were even snowed into their homes as snowdrifts piled high to block exits.

Cloudy conditions and below normal temperatures prevailed until Tuesday when the thermometer reached the mid 30’s. But along with that, the area received scattered showers. And the remainder of the week has additional moisture – either rain or snow -- in the forecast.

Garrison Maintenance Supervisor Alan Beyreis said the heavy, wet snow made it very difficult to push with the city blade.

"Once the snow was pushed to the boulevard there was not a lot you could do with it," he said. "And the blade snow gate could not cut through the heavy snow a lot of times due to the amount that had to be moved."

But Beyreis said overall, snow removal was going well.

Move vehicles

To expedite the snow removal process in the future, Beyreis reminded that residents keep their vehicles off the street when snow removal is in progress.

The same is being asked of residents in Max.

Mayor Jody Gullickson also reminded Max residents that it is important to have their vehicles moved off the street during snow removal.

Beyreis also requested people not blow driveway snow back into the street once the street has been cleared.

Following the storm, city officials at Max held a special meeting to discuss the snow situation – even contemplating calling for a snow disaster.

"Due to the high cost of snow clearing and maintenance of equipment, this hit us pretty hard," Gullickson said. "We are thankful for the volunteers who helped with clearing the streets."


The Weather Network