I-29 back open after storm causes travel issues, school delays in Greater Grand Forks region

Blizzard David didn't have much snow, but high winds. Classes were running two hours late in Grand Forks, East Grand Forks.

blizzard graphic by National Weather Service Feb. 15, 2023.JPG
A graphic distributed by the National Weather Service on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023.
National Weather Service

GRAND FORKS — Classes were delayed two hours in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks and some roads were closed Tuesday night into early Wednesday afternoon after a winter storm impacted the region.

Blizzard David hit the area with high winds and blowing snow Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, causing road closures across eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota. Interstate 29 was shut down from the Canadian border to the South Dakota border on Tuesday night. The road opened from Grand Forks north Wednesday morning but remained closed from Grand Forks to Fargo until the early afternoon.

A blizzard warning was in place for many counties in eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota. Although Grand Forks was not included in the blizzard warning, East Grand Forks — and Polk County, Minnesota — was in the warning.

Because the blizzard warning existed in East Grand Forks and not on the Grand Forks side, the Herald named the storm Blizzard David, for East Grand Forks City Administrator David Murphy.

The Herald has been naming blizzards since 1990, giving storms alphabetically alternating male/female names in an effort to honor local residents and also to log storms for the sake of history. The Herald generally uses the names of people in the news, famous or mythical figures, or those with connections to the Herald.


This is the fourth named blizzard of the season. Others were Alexandra (on Nov. 10), Barry (on Dec. 23) and Caitlin (on Jan. 27).

The record is eight named blizzards in a season.

The storm caused havoc particularly in the south part of the Red River Valley, leaving many travelers stranded on Wednesday morning, the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead reported. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz declared a peacetime emergency to help get drivers off the road.

In a press release Wednesday, Walz said, "I am grateful to the members of the Minnesota National Guard for answering the call and providing immediate assistance to Minnesotans in need. The state stands ready to provide support, so that everyone can weather this winter storm and return safely to their homes.”

Power was also out for at least 598 residents in Grand Forks, south of DeMers Avenue on Wednesday morning. Power was restored around 8 a.m. Xcel Energy said the outage was caused by high winds.

The storm featured more wind than snow. In the northern Red River Valley, only about an inch of new snow was expected, but wind gusts were strong, reaching beyond 60 mph Tuesday evening.

By Wednesday morning, the gusts had fallen into the range of about 40 mph.

Our newsroom occasionally reports stories under a byline of "staff." Often, the "staff" byline is used when rewriting basic news briefs that originate from official sources, such as a city press release about a road closure, and which require little or no reporting. At times, this byline is used when a news story includes numerous authors or when the story is formed by aggregating previously reported news from various sources. If outside sources are used, it is noted within the story.
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