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Christmas roads look clear for the region

It's going to be a white Christmas for sure, and if you're traveling south or east in the area, be careful on the road. The National Weather Service said there's a chance of snow overnight in south central and southeastern North Dakota and today ...

It's going to be a white Christmas for sure, and if you're traveling south or east in the area, be careful on the road.

The National Weather Service said there's a chance of snow overnight in south central and southeastern North Dakota and today in central and southern Minnesota.

Road reports

The North Dakota Department of Transportation issued a travel alert for southeastern North Dakota through this morning.

Affected areas include east of Bismarck, Steele, Jamestown, Valley City, Fargo, Linton, Napolean, Edgeley, Ellendale and Wahpeton, N.D.


Drivers can still travel, but they're warned that heavy snow is accumulating in the passing lane of four-lane highways and on rural two-lane roads.

The DOT is advising motorists to reduce speeds because of reduced visibility. Continuing heavy snow could cause roadways to become snow-covered, with compacted snow, creating icy conditions.

Travelers should monitor road conditions by calling 511 or checking the department's website, www.dot.nd.gov/ .

On the Internet, go to www.weather.com/grand forks. Then click on "Observations" to find road reports for Minnesota and the Dakotas.

The North Dakota Highway Patrol said it responded to six rollover vehicle crashes Thursday morning on Interstate 94.

Sgt. Daniel Haugen told the Dickinson Press troopers also responded to six vehicles driving into the median.

Authorities said slippery roads are to blame for the accidents.

There were no injuries in four of the rollovers. One adult was ejected and was treated at an area hospital in one of the rollovers.


Officers also responded to a serious Thursday afternoon crash near Mott, N.D.

Roads in northeastern North Dakota were in good winter driving condition Thursday night. Most of the state highways had compacted snow, and there was continuous ice in parts of the northwest.

Most roads in northwestern Minnesota were in fair winter driving condition, but in central Minnesota, difficult driving was reported in the area north of state Highway 200 and U.S. 12.

Storm advisories

A winter storm warning is posted for south central North Dakota and a winter weather advisory for south central and southeastern part of the state until 6 a.m. today.

In Minnesota, a winter weather advisory is out through this morning in west central and southern areas.

In the Grand Forks area, there was a chance of light snow overnight, but after that, snow isn't in the weather service's extended forecast through next Thursday.

Highs in the teens are expected today through Monday, warming to the 20s Tuesday and Wednesday and back to the teens next Thursday. Lows will be in the single digits above or below zero all week.


National outlook

Nationally, fair weather helped make the holiday sojourn a not-so-painful experience in much of the country Thursday, even with more people hitting the roads and skies than last year, but travelers' good luck might be running out.

A storm was expected to bring a snow and ice to parts of the heartland today, a rare white Christmas to Nashville on Saturday, and perhaps sock swaths of the Northeast on Sunday.

"People that are going to Grandma's house," said Bobby Boyd, a meteorologist for the weather service in Nashville, "need to get going."

The spread-out nature of the year-end holidays means things won't be quite so cramped as holidays, such as Thanksgiving, when practically everyone is on the move the same day.

"We have a lot of folks who already may have taken off of work," said Troy Green, a spokesman for AAA. "They may have arrived at their destination before today."

The AAA has expected overall travel to rise about 3 percent this year, with more than 92 million people planning to go more than 50 miles sometime between now and Jan. 2. More than 90 percent said they would be driving.

The Air Transport Association expects 44.3 million people on U.S. flights between Dec. 16 and Jan. 5 -- up 3 percent over the same period a year ago but still below pre-recession


Helping matters is that the most densely populated parts of the country got a break from the weather Thursday with rain finally stopping in California and a few days away in the East.

But the coming storm was a concern Thursday in parts of the nation's midsection.

Steve Brown, 50, of Elm Creek, Neb., left Tuesday afternoon and drove all night to beat the storm as it worked its way east. Brown, a grain hauler, was taking his two children to see his mother on the Ohio dairy farm where he grew up.

"I had orders to come home, or she was going to come get me," Brown said during at the Elmore rest area, where adults filled up on coffee while kids, traveling in pajamas, loaded up on Tater Tots.

After record-breaking snow falls in the East and a treacherous Christmas travel season

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