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Amy Dalrymple, Forum News Service, Published January 23 2010

Caution urged for weekend storm

As weather conditions started to worsen Friday, authorities urged people to monitor the storm this weekend and stay home if possible.

Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney said the icy conditions that are part of this storm have officials worried that it could be deadly.

“It’s looking like it’s going to give us a pretty good swift kick,” Laney said. “If you don’t need to go anywhere, don’t.”

Some rural residents were coping with power outages Friday after high winds and heavy frost caused power lines to break and poles to snap.

Dakota Valley Electric spokeswoman Kathy Rysavy encouraged customers to take precautions.

“Be prepared. If you have a generator, get it out,” Rysavy said. “Stock up on water, food if you need it,”

Dakota Valley Electric areas affected are mainly in the Kulm, Forbes and Fredonia, N.D., areas, she said.

Gov. John Hoeven issued a snow emergency Friday, activating state resources including the National Guard throughout the weekend and into Monday.

North Dakota authorities issued a no-travel advisory Friday for Jamestown, Valley City and the surrounding area. A travel alert was in effect for the remainder of the state.

Capt. Eldon Mehrer of the North Dakota Highway Patrol asked motorists to take such advisories seriously.

Troopers often are frustrated when they respond to weather-related crashes and find out the drivers didn’t have a good reason for being on the road, Mehrer said.

“We put our people in danger in those situations,” he said.

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office has four-wheel drive vehicles and equipment staged around the county. Deputies can use snowmobiles to respond to emergencies, but Laney said he hopes they don’t have to.

“Weather like this can be very, very deadly,” Laney said. “Let’s not hand Mother Nature another statistic. Let’s stay home, let’s be safe.”

More information

Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt contributed to this report

Readers can reach Forum reporter Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590