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Blizzard conditions sweep through Greater Grand Forks, closing schools, roads and offices

Schools, government offices and roads are closed today throughout the region as blizzard conditions swept into the northern Red River Valley late Wednesday.

Schools, government offices and roads are closed today throughout the region as blizzard conditions swept into the northern Red River Valley late Wednesday.

"Blizzard conditions will continue today in the Red River Valley, with travel impossible at times in open country," the National Weather Service in Grand Forks said in a statement early this morning.

"Northerly winds will gust over 60 mph at times, before tapering off by Thursday evening. In addition, potentially damaging winds may produce localized power outages. Travel is strongly discouraged today. Take the proper precautions now and spread the word to family and friends."

The region's blizzard warning remains effective in the northern valley until 6 p.m., with conditions expected to approve by this evening.

The North Dakota Department of Transportation advises no travel on Interstate 29 from the Canadian border to the South Dakota border.


The Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Minnesota State Patrol closed U.S. Highway 2 from East Grand Forks to Crookston and Highway 200 from North Dakota to Ada due to heavy blowing snow creating white out conditions.

A MnDOT release said the highways will remain closed until further notice.

"Extremely high winds and snow have created dangerous driving conditions for motorists and no travel is advised in Kittson, Marshall, Pennington and Red Lake counties," the release said.

By late Wednesday, dozens of school districts - including East Grand Forks and Grand Forks -cancelled classes today. UND and North Dakota State University cancelled classes, while city offices in Grand Forks also were shuttered.

In a message, the city said only essential and emergency personnel would be on duty today.

In some late announcements, the Grand Forks Library said it would be closed today. Choice Health said it would be closed for the morning and may open as conditions improve. The Energy and Environmental Research Center (EERC) at UND said it would open two hours late and employees should report to work at 10 a.m.

For a full listing of weather-related news, click on the closing announcements near the top of the Grand Forks Herald's website. There were 270 weather announcements listed on the website as of 7 this morning.

The arctic blast, fueled by stiff winds, had been predicted all week by meteorologists at the weather service, which issued a blizzard warning nearly a day in advance and warned about life-threatening conditions.


"It looks to be one of the stronger blizzards in the past couple of years," said Tom Grafenauer, a weather service meteorologist in Grand Forks, said Wednesday.

Roads, even within the Greater Grand Forks area, were slick early this morning. Conditions were expected to be even worse outside city limits.

"The Thursday morning commute will be impossible in open country," meteorologist John Hoppes said in the weather service's official blizzard warning forecast.

For more North Dakota road information, call 511 from any type of phone or go to the website at www.dot.nd.gov .

In Minnesota, go online to www.511mn.org .

Both states said motorists should not travel, but those who do should plan accordingly. In addition, those who travel on closed roads can face penalties, including jail time, fines and expenses related to rescue attempts.

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