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Another winter storm closes down Detroit Lakes, puts damper on winter activities

Kids play outside on the fourth snow day of the year in the Detroit Lakes School District. Photo Submitted by Robbie Cox1 / 7
A Detroit Lakes resident plows their front sidewalk Thursday. Photo submitted by Jacquelyn Erickson2 / 7
Snow accumulation hit nine inches in some parts of Becker County. Photo submitted by Kristi VanWatermulen3 / 7
Huge piles of snow sit in nearly every parking lot in Detroit Lakes, showing it's been quite a year for snowfall. Kaysey Price / Tribune4 / 7
Kids plow a driveway in Detroit Lakes. Photo submitted by Tasha Haverkamp5 / 7
A Detroit Lakes resident stands next to a snowdrift. Photo submitted by April Matson6 / 7
Snow was blowing around town Detroit Lakes all day Thursday, making driving conditions unfavorable. Kaysey Price / Tribune7 / 7

It seems like the whole town has shut down again due to blizzard conditions today.

School was cancelled. A number of businesses closed their doors early for the day. The Polar Fest kick off took a hit, as the Grand Lighting Ceremony of King Isbit's Royal Courtyard was moved to Saturday due to the unfavorable weather. Becker County snow plows even had to take a break after 10 hours of clearing the the blowing snow from the roads.

The Becker County Highway Department announced they would stop plowing county roads at 2 p.m. today and start back up again at 3 a.m. Friday. As for the Minnesota Department of Transportation, they kept on trucking, though they put out a no travel advisory for five surrounding counties, including Big Stone, Clay, Stevens, Traverse and Wilkin. The department also put out a no travel advisory on Interstate 94 between Fergus Falls and Moorhead

The extreme winter weather has put quite a damper on a number of activities, with the Tribune reporting 257 weather announcements as of Thursday afternoon.

Detroit Lakes Superintendent Doug Froke said the snow days mean there will now be school on March 18 and April 22, which are built-in bad weather makeup days. The last day of school will also be pushed to Friday, May 24; however, whether those days become teacher inservice days or school days will be a decision the school board will discuss in its upcoming meeting.

Even though students had a snow day and many others around town were sent home because of the weather, there wasn't much fun to be had. The cold that came along with the snow made it difficult to do much outside.

Detroit Mountain even announced on Facebook that it would close down Thursday and Friday: "Another Cold & Windy couple days scheduled again, and yes...we know there is fresh snow falling, but we tried that on Monday and the cold temps won...we will be closed this Thursday and Friday. Saturday & Sunday we will be open regular hours."

Polar Fest festivities were expected to kick off today with a Grand Lighting Ceremony of King Isbit's Throne down by the pavillion, but the majority of the ceremony has been cancelled. The Royal Courtyard will be lit tonight, but the ceremony has been moved to Saturday.

Not many people want to be out and about, even ones who enjoy the winter. Lowell Seaberg, owner of Seaberg Power Sports says his business has been doing well this season, selling a lot of the winter inventory they haven't sold in years past. He says he's seen a slight increase in sales, but the frigid temps are still keeping people from really enjoying the snow.

"It's been too much bitter cold...When it warms up again, I think people will be out enjoying the snow," he said. "There's some people that look forward to snow, but I don't think there's anyone who looks forward to the bitter cold."

Some places don't have the option to close, though, like Essentia Health's Emergency Room. Tom Alinder, the emergency department manager at Essentia, said there is never a time when the weather would be so bad they would shut their doors; though, in this storm, they aren't able to let patients leave, once they are checked in.

"We've kind of put plans in place, so we can provide support and hospitality for the patients and or family that are remaining in the hospital," he said.

Alinder says during storms like these they often see an influx of patients in the first couple of hours and then their intake numbers drop off. He says they'll likely see a slow flow of patients coming in throughout the storm, and their door will always be open for newcomers.

"The big part is we want people to be safe in their homes wherever they're at. If they need emergency care, please come. That's what we're here for," he said, adding, "Stay safe. Stay warm. And avoid unnecessary travel."

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