Grand Forks hotels, truck stops near full during Blizzard Brenda

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Staff at the Townhouse Hotel at 701 1st Ave. N. said some out of state travelers had to wait out the blizzard at the hotel. (Adam Kurtz/ Grand Forks Herald)

As Grand Forks digs out from the aftermath of Blizzard Brenda, some area hotel and truck stops are reporting they had full or near full occupancy from truckers or travelers who had to wait out the storm.

Blizzard Brenda pounded the region late Saturday, Dec. 28, to early morning on Monday, Dec. 30, with wind gusts of up to 50 miles per hour that left nearly 13 inches of snow in its wake. The blizzard caused closures throughout the city from church services and Grand Forks Parks District skating programs on Sunday to Grand Forks and East Grand Forks city offices on Monday. Grand Forks County offices were closed Monday, as well. Brenda also shut down Interstate 29, between the Canadian and South Dakota borders, and Highway 2 between Devils Lake and Erskine, Minn., on Sunday and part of Monday.

With I-29 and Highway 2 closed Sunday, travelers and truck drivers stayed in Grand Forks hotels and truck stops to wait out the blizzard.

The TownHouse Hotel on First Avenue North, reported nearly full occupancy.

“We got pretty full; I think we had eight or nine rooms that didn’t get booked," said front desk staff Capri Pederson in a phone call with the Herald late Monday morning. “We had people in and out all night, staying warm, because they were trying to unstick their cars and brave the storm, which I think is a little crazy, but OK.”


Pederson said she didn’t relish the idea of going out in the snow storm.

“I’ve been out in storms like that, and I live across town and I’m not going anywhere,” she said.

Peterson also told the Herald that some out-of-state travelers had to wait out the storm at her hotel.

“We did have a few people: We had someone from Iowa, someone from Nebraska, a couple people trying to get to Colorado. They are all supposed to hopefully be going home today," she said on Monday.

Rod Clifton, a guest at the Townhouse Hotel, said he was on his way back from visiting family in Bemidji, Minn., when he was caught in the storm on his way to Omaha, Neb.

Clifton, who had not anticipated staying in Grand Forks, said he and his group were anything but bored during the blizzard.

“Stuck in the room? No, I wouldn’t call it stuck in the room, no,” he said. “We’ve been eating and drinking and laughing and partying."

Nick Curtis, at Simonson Travel Center, said the parking lot for trucks could accommodate nearly 40 semis and was full during the blizzard. He said it was taking time for some to dig out.


“There’s still some spots that are so buried in there, there’s still trucks that haven’t even moved since they pulled in the other day,” Curtis said.

With travel restrictions on I-29 lifted Monday morning, he said the truck drivers should be able to get on the road soon, despite some needing to dig out.

“We’ve actually cleared out a lot, a good amount so far,” he said.

Adam Kurtz is the community editor for the Grand Forks Herald. He covers higher education and other topics in Grand Forks County and the city.

Kurtz joined the Herald in July 2019. He covered business and county government topics before covering higher education and some military topics.

Tips and story ideas are welcome. Get in touch with him at, or DM at @ByAdamKurtz.

Desk: 701-780-1110
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