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Snowfall, icy roads cause accidents throughout region

The snow that fell Tuesday mostly stopped Wednesday, but colder temperatures helped freeze it to roadways, contributing to many minor traffic accidents across the region, as well as some that involved injuries.

The snow that fell Tuesday mostly stopped Wednesday, but colder temperatures helped freeze it to roadways, contributing to many minor traffic accidents across the region, as well as some that involved injuries.

Although the temperature in Grand Forks remained relatively mild Tuesday, not far below freezing overnight, it fell all day Wednesday, hitting 20 by 8:30 p.m.

Roads in the region remained covered with ice and snow, despite lots of sanding and plowing by city, county and state trucks.

Grand Forks police reported many minor sliding-vehicle accidents, with no injuries.

Snowfall ranged from 1 to 1.3 inches in the Grand Forks area to 5 inches and a little more across Kittson and Roseau counties in Minnesota, and 3 to 4 inches across Pembina, Cavalier and Towner counties in North Dakota.

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A Twin Cities truck driver was cited for an oversized load after his semi-truck and trailer hit the ditch and rolled over Wednesday afternoon on U.S. Highway 2, about 23 miles west of Devils Lake.

The state Highway Patrol reported that David Bennett, 70, Brooklyn Center, Minn., was driving a 1997 Freightliner hauling an office trailer, eastbound from Rugby, N.D., to Minneapolis when a driver-side tire blew out.

His rig went into the median, with both units rolling on their sides. Bennett was not injured.

He was cited for violating his oversize movement permit.

Several other vehicles went in ditches across the region Wednesday, but no serious injuries were reported.

Two people were injured Tuesday evening in a two-vehicle crash on U.S. Highway 2 at state Highway 89 in Wilton, Minn., just west of Bemidji.

Daryl Hinrichs, 70, Shevlin, Minn., was driving a 1996 International truck west on Highway 2 when a 1993 Buick driven by Tina Northbird, 32, Bemidji, southbound on 89 slid through a stop sign and collided with the truck. Both drivers suffered non-life-threatening injuries, the State Patrol reported. Keith Wilder, 22, the passenger in Northbird's car, was not injured.

An Oklee, Minn., woman was injured slightly Tuesday afternoon in a two-vehicle crash in Pennington County. Melissa Nelson, 18, Oklee, was driving a 1995 Chrysler Cirrus south on U.S. Highway 59 about 3:30 p.m. when she slowed to make a turn and lost control, the car sliding on the ice.

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A 2005 Mack semi-truck following the car and driven by Keith Venhuizen, 41, Burnette, Wis., could not avoid the Cirrus and rear-ended it. Nelson was treated for her injuries at a Thief River Falls hospital and released. The truck driver was not injured.

Driving conditions are expected to improve the rest of this week, although snow flurries will be possible and temperatures will remain much colder than they have been, with highs only in the mid-20s and lows in the mid-teens.

Mild autumn

This was an autumn to remember, the fourth-warmest on record in Grand Forks, the National Weather Service office said, speaking of the meteorological fall that runs from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30. The average temperature at the Grand Forks International Airport for the three-month period was 46.7 degrees, 4.7 degrees above the 30-year norm. The warmest fall on record at the airport was 1963, when the average temperature was 50.3 degrees.

Rainfall totaled only 3.68 inches, 0.95 inch below the norm and only a third of last fall's record 10.96 inches. The driest fall on record in Grand Forks was 1976, when only 0.93 inch of precipitation fell during the three months.

Only 0.9 inch of snow fell this fall, making it the fifth-least snowy on record; the record was 1999, when no snow fell until after Nov. 30.

Records at the airport go back to 1941.

Sunny even beat cloudy this fall, for those of the glass-is-half-full crowd: 26 days were fair, 31 were cloudy and 34 were judged partly cloudy.

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Reach Lee at (701) 780-1237; (800) 477-6572, ext. 237; or send e-mail to slee@gfherald.com .

Related Topics: ACCIDENTSWEATHER
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