Parts of southwestern North Dakota get about a foot of snow; no travel advised
BISMARCK - Stanley and Sharon Gjermundson, the only two residents of the southwestern North Dakota town of Marshall, are snowed in.
Sharon works as a postmaster in Taylor, about 25 miles south of Marshall. She said about a foot of snow kept her from punching in at the post office on Thursday.
"I wasn't going to drive in this weather," said Gjermundson, who also reports weather conditions daily to the National Weather Service in Bismarck.
"They advised me to stay home, so I did," she said.
Stanley Gjermundson was busy checking on his cattle, his wife said.
"We hope all the cattle are OK," she said.
North Dakotans woke up to warnings about blizzards in the west and central parts of the state and flooding in the east.
The weather service said areas around Hebron and Marshall, in Dunn County, each got about 9 inches. Other snowfall amounts include 6 inches in Glen Ullin and 5 inches in Richardton.
Officials advised no travel on Interstate 94 from New Salem to the Montana border, and in the city of Dickinson. Minot city officials also advised no travel.
Transportation officials said highways south of state Highway 21 to the South Dakota line from the Montana line, to North Dakota Highway 49 were blocked.
Heavy snow and wind prompted closures of schools, health clinics and most businesses in Bowman, a town of about 1,600 in North Dakota's southwest corner.
Bowman City Auditor Judy Pond said she and the city's snowplow drivers were about the only people working on Thursday.
"I'm keeping busy making coffee for the snowplow guys and answering the phone," she said.
Terry Sarlsland, the city's street superintendent, said city crews cleared only emergency routes through the town.
"The wind is blowing so hard it's hard to tell how much snow we got," Sarlsland said. "We got 4-foot drifts in some places."
Sarlsland said it was just a matter of time before a big winter storm hit the city.
"We knew it was coming but we didn't know when," he said. "We're ready for it."
The Dunn County road foreman in Halliday, Eldon Rohde, estimated about 4 inches of snow had piled up in the Halliday area.
Rohde said the county shop was getting its snowplows ready. They rarely saw action during last year's dry weather. "We didn't do hardly any blowing," Rohde said.
The storm was expected to move into the Bismarck area later Thursday, with up to 5 inches of snow possible.
Eastern North Dakota was under a flood warning with heavy rain. The National Weather Service said the Red River in Fargo could go a couple of feet above flood stage by Sunday.