Thanksgiving Snowstorm

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Thanksgiving Snowstorm

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Cortnie Cottrell, News Writer

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Over Thanksgiving break, a snowstorm hit North Dakota that forced portions of Interstate 94 and Interstate 29 to be closed. The North Dakota Highway Patrol said they had helped at least 50 stranded vehicles. Eight inches of the snowstorm fell on Grand Forks. This left a lot of work for the city of Grand Forks and their snow removal team to clean up.

When a snowstorm hits Grand Forks, action is taken immediately and sometimes even before the flakes start falling. The Public Works Operation director, LeahRae Amundson, described the process.

“We provide for brine application ahead of storms dependent on temperature,” Amundson said. “The brine application is most effective in early and late winter, and it is used to prevent ice and snow from sticking to the roadways and building up over the winter season.” 

In simpler terms, the brine application is a type of different salting techniques. The three techniques to this application are anti-icing, de-icing and pre-wetting. All techniques are implemented by the city of Grand Forks to help ensure resident’s safety while traveling. 

Traveling during a snowstorm is dangerous but common, especially around holiday seasons. However, the city of Grand Forks Public Works Operations encourages residents to consider dangerous conditions such as low visibility and limited access to safe roads. 

The City of Grand Forks has a system for plowing roads when a snowstorm hits. Their first actions are to clear main roadways after a storm. The goal is to ensure that emergency vehicles can get around and get to residents if needed. The next goal is to open secondary roadways up, then they move into the residential areas. In regard to the Thanksgiving snowfall, they made one pass through all residential to provide pathways for the neighborhoods, then returned on to maintenance day to clear snow curb to curb. 

With all this snow moving and removing, the city has calculated that on average a snowfall costs the City of Grand Forks approximately $20,000. However, it does vary depending on snow amounts and duration or concurrent events. Because of the hefty price tag of an average snowfall here in Grand Forks, the City recommends residents to give the plows and equipment plenty of room, allow extra travel time and maintain a safe following distance. Carrying out these few safety tips should help prevent accidents and therefore, allow for snow removal to be done in less time, resulting in a less expensive snowfall for the city. 

“Even though school did not get cancelled on that following Monday, I think it should have at least been delayed a few hours,” Emily Veronen, a UND student, said. “Coming from Minnesota, where the snow accumulated to even more than here in Grand Forks, I contemplated skipping class on Monday to take that day to drive back. Ultimately, I think UND should have called classes off on Monday, considering a good portion of their students are from the Minnesota-Wisconsin area.”

Looking ahead, is the snow here to stay? Yes, according to onlyinyourstate.com, as far as winter precipitation goes, they are claiming it will be above average with cold drops and the most frigid temperatures of the country. So break out your mittens and scarves and make sure your snowblower works because Grand Forks is going to be a winter wonderland.