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Published February 06 2010

Icy conditions cause rash of accidents

Slushy snow and slick roads caused a flurry of car accidents Friday, including several rollovers with minor injuries in Cass and Clay counties.

There were at least 35 accidents in Fargo-Moorhead and outlying areas between 6 a.m. and 7:45 p.m., according to Fargo police records and a dispatcher at the Red River Regional Dispatch Center.

From 5 to 9:30 p.m., the North Dakota Highway Patrol received reports of at least 30 cars in ditches along highways in the southeastern part of the state, said Lt. Bryan Niewind.

North Dakota troopers also responded to 15 accidents without injuries and two with minor injuries, Niewind said.

Niewind said there “was no rhyme or reason” to the locations of the crashes. “The weather’s kind of the same everywhere. There’s a light snow falling and the temperature is right at 30 degrees.”

Lt. Steve Todd of the Clay County Sheriff’s Department said deputies responded to a dozen weather-related traffic incidents in a one-hour span Friday night. Road conditions were especially slippery in the Hawley and Downer-Barnesville areas, Todd said.

The accident toll worsened Friday evening as wet, slushy roads grew increasingly more snow-covered and slick in cooler temperatures.

Additional snow accumulations of 2 inches are expected by this morning, according to WDAY TV meteorologist John Wheeler.

Conditions will likely worsen as the weekend progresses. Wheeler is predicting a winter storm system that will deposit from 6 to 12 more inches of snow Sunday and Monday. Winds also will increase.

“People have to drive for the conditions,” Niewind said. “Slow down, stay off the cruise control and make sure you’re wearing your seat belt.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tammy Swift at (701) 241-5525