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Cali Owings, Published December 28 2013

UPDATED: Deep freeze follows Saturday blizzard

FARGO – Blizzard conditions throughout many parts of eastern North Dakota and northwest Minnesota made for dangerous travel conditions on area roadways Saturday afternoon and evening.

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office called in its late shift a few hours early and extended day officers to handle the volume of calls from weather-related accidents, said Sgt. Brian Norberg.

Starting mid-afternoon Saturday, Norberg said there were “lots and lots” of vehicles off the road and a few property damage accidents, but no major damages or injuries.

“People think that their need to get somewhere outweighs the risk of traveling in weather like this,” he said.

By 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Norberg said the incidents were starting to taper off.

Sgt. Jesse Grabow with the Minnesota State Patrol said there were about a dozen crashes throughout the region and another 24 vehicles off the road in need of assistance. He said Highway 10 and Interstate 94 were the busiest areas Saturday afternoon.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation advised against travel on parts of I-94 and Highway 10 east of Moorhead due to reduced visibility and the large number of vehicle accidents.

The North Dakota Department of Transportation also issued no-travel advisories for northeastern North Dakota and travel alerts for the southeastern region, including Fargo, Valley City, Jamestown, areas to the north and east of Bismarck, and surrounding areas.

Dangerous cold

The National Weather service issued a blizzard warning for much of eastern North Dakota and northwest Minnesota throughout most of the day Saturday.

Before sundown, North Dakota Highway Patrol Sgt. Troy Hischer said there were no accidents, though he had to help a few stranded motorists in the area.

The wind reduces a vehicle’s fuel economy, so some motorists ran out of gas, Hischer said. Other vehicles broke down in the winter conditions and some drivers could not see.

“I think anybody who looks out their window should know they probably shouldn’t go anywhere tonight (Saturday),” he said.

Following Saturday’s blizzard conditions, the National Weather Service issued a wind chill advisory for dangerously cold temperatures overnight until noon Sunday. Winds gusting at 40 to 50 mph will bring wind chill temperatures down between 30 and 50 below zero Sunday, according to the weather service.

Grabow advised drivers to plan ahead, be prepared and pay attention to weather forecasts and road advisories throughout the season.

“There’s still a lot of winter left,” he said.