As I-29 closes and roads ice over Friday afternoon, Grand Forks County sheriff tells motorists to 'stay home'

Sheriff Andy Schneider posted a video from a rural area near a car that had slid off the road. "We have cars in the ditch all over the place," he said.

Grand Forks County Sheriff Andy Schneider weather update March 17
Grand Forks County Sheriff Andy Schneider shows what travel conditions are like on county roads on Friday, March 17. (Screenshot from video provided by Grand Forks County Sheriff Andy Schneider)

GRAND FORKS — Grand Forks County Sheriff Andy Schneider said highways in the region are treacherous after a hard wind and blowing snow have caused slippery conditions.

In a video he recorded Friday afternoon, Schneider urged motorists to stay home.

“No travel advised in Grand Forks County and this is why,” Schneider said in the video, taken near a car that had slid off the road. “We have cars in the ditch all over the place.

"... If you aren’t in Grand Forks County, just stay home — don’t come. And if you are here, turn around and go back to your house. We don’t need any more cars in the ditch.”

About the same time Schneider took the video, Interstate 29 closed from Manvel — just north of Grand Forks — to Fargo. Shortly thereafter, I-29 was closed all the way from Fargo to the Canada border.


031823 snowRemoval.jpg
A worker clears snow off the sidewalk on the south side of the Alerus Center on Friday, March 17, 2023.
Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

Also, a number of roads and highways in the region have no-travel advisories. Highway 2 from Grand Forks to Devils Lake was closed around 3:30 p.m.

According to a social media post by the North Dakota Department of Transportation, "secondary roads across North Dakota could be blocked or impassable due to high winds creating severe snow drifts. Drifts are more prevalent at structures and sheltered areas."

Schneider said cars were slowed Friday due to the blowing snow and visibility was reduced to “about nothing” in some areas.

He also said the county has seen more than 100 vehicles in ditches in the past four days.

According to the National Weather Service, more snow was likely Friday afternoon, with wind gusts up to 39 mph. Although not much snow is expected — less than a half-inch, according to the NWS — the winds likely will reduce visibility. Temperatures Friday afternoon were in the single digits, with chills reaching down to nearly minus-20.

Saturday, it’ll be mostly cloudy early, becoming gradually sunny. The high temperature will be around 14, but wind chills will again dip to nearly minus-20 as winds gust past 30 mph.

As for anyone venturing out onto rural roads Friday, Schneider didn’t mince words in his video.

“Do not use your cruise control – stay home,” he said.

Korrie Wenzel has been publisher of the Grand Forks Herald and Prairie Business Magazine since 2014.

Over time, he has been a board member of the Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corp., Junior Achievement, the South Dakota Historical Society Foundation, United Way, Empire Arts Center, Cornerstones Career Learning Center and Crimestoppers.

As publisher, Wenzel oversees news, advertising and business operations at the Herald, as well as the newspaper's opinion content.

In the past, Wenzel was sports editor for 14 years at The Daily Republic of Mitchell, S.D., before becoming editor and, eventually, publisher.

Wenzel can be reached at 701-780-1103.
What To Read Next
Get Local