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A motorist calls for help shortly after getting into an accident over the noon hour at University Drive and Interstate 94. Drifting snow over icy roads contributed to several accidents Thursday in the area. (Michael Vosburg/The Forum)

Snowstorm causes numerous accidents in Fargo-Moorhead area Thursday

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Snowstorm causes numerous accidents in Fargo-Moorhead area Thursday
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

FARGO -- One person was seriously injured amid a slew of accidents on icy and snow-spotted roads in the Fargo-Moorhead area Thursday.

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The North Dakota Highway Patrol responded to five accidents by midafternoon, including the injury crash at Exit 343 on Interstate 94 in West Fargo.

A West Fargo school bus merging onto I-94 eastbound hit a 2003 Chrysler Sebring convertible that had gotten stuck in the snow about 7 a.m., said Highway Patrol Lt. Bryan Niewind.

The car's driver, Stacey Siemieniewski of Shelly, Minn., was taken to Innovis Health in Fargo with non-life-threatening injuries to her leg. No children were on the school bus at the time of the accident, he said. Neither the bus driver, Norma Olson of Fargo, nor an adult assistant, Irene Enzminger of West Fargo, were injured, a North Dakota Highway Patrol release stated.

The crash blocked eastbound I-94 at Main Avenue in West Fargo for about an hour as crews worked to extricate the woman and remove the vehicles.

Some of Thursday's crashes resulted in property damage, Niewind said. Traffic had packed snow into ice on Wednesday, and de-icing chemicals only partially melted it when temperatures dipped into the negative double digits on Thursday, icing up roads again, he said.

"People are just driving too fast for the conditions," Niewind said, adding drivers should increase their following distance and be aware of what's ahead.

The National Weather Service in Grand Forks reported total snow accumulations of 6 to 9 inches from Valley City into the Lisbon and Wahpeton areas, and 2 to 5 inches from the Devils Lake basin into the Fargo area.

In Fargo, blowing snow filled in so fast Thursday that the city closed 32nd Avenue South between 45th Street and Veterans Boulevard for 35 minutes to bring in large equipment to clear the road.

The weather service predicted bitter cold would continue today, with a high in Fargo near 10 below zero and wind chill values as low as 39 below.

A warm-up is expected to start this weekend, with predicted highs of 5 on Saturday, 19 on Sunday, 18 on Monday, 26 on Tuesday and 25 on Wednesday.

Clay County Sheriff's Deputy Ryan Carey said he was not aware of any calls for accidents to his office.

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