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North Dakota Tourism

Bowman County Courthouse
104 1st St NW
Bowman, ND 58623

Weather brings warning for caution, preparation

December 13, 2019


Headed east on Hwy 12 between Marmarth & Rhame December 8th, 2019. Photo by Brad Mosher


By Brad Mosher
Country Media

According to the Bismarck office of the National Weather Service, the southwestern are of North Dakota avoided the biggest hit over the weekend when a large winter storm hit Montana and North Dakota with snowfall getting as high as 10 inches in parts of the Peace Garden state.

In Bowman and surrounding counties, the snowfall was much less, but with travel being impacted on the state highways with blowing snow and patches of ice on the roads.

The weather service office in Bismarck predicted that the Bowman area would get between one and two inches of snow from the weekend storm, while the rest of the region would get between four to six inches.

Dense fog in Rhame on Sunday December 8th, 2019.
Photo by Casandra Horn

But the storm was the first wave as a frigid cold moved into the state afterward, dropping the temperatures into single digits along Highway 12 and down into -15 degrees and colder in other areas of the state. With wind chills, the temperatures dropped to as cold as -35 degrees in some areas Monday.

By Tuesday, the temperature improved to in the 20s along Highway 12, while the eastern half of the state was stuck with sub-zero temperatures. The coldest recorded wind chill temperature in the state Tuesday was recorded at the Rugby Airport with a reading of minus 43 degrees. Nearby Watford City was only three degrees warmer.

According to state statistics, the Bowman County area received about two to three inches from the storm even though a travel alert was issued for the southwestern and central sections of the state.

The region was also hit with extremely foggy conditions at times along Highway 12 and also ice on the roads and highways.

According to Dean Pearson, the Bowman County Emergency Services Manager, said that his office has a booklet available for people to pick up on how to prepare for winter, both for homes and how to handle winter driving conditions.

According to Pearson, the booklet has a list of all the equipment you are supposed to have in a vehicle if you are traveling or all the things you need to do in a house, not only for the winter but for summer storms or other kinds of emergencies.

He warned residents need to be careful if they use any alternate fuel sources for heating their homes. “It isn’t just space heaters, but any kind of heaters,” he said. “Just be careful when you are adding any extra heat, no matter what the source.”

When it comes to traveling in extreme weather conditions, Pearson advised that people should check out the road conditions before going on a trip. “…Not just where you are going to, but the route as well. Make sure that you have a winter survival kit on board and have some means of contacting somebody,” he added.

“Be cognizant of the fact that (road) conditions change. Even though it might be sunny here, it might not be as warm or it might be freezing rain somewhere else.

“Things may change, so be cognizant of your surroundings,” he advised, adding that using the North Dakota Road Conditions phone app or listening to the radio can help.

“Just don’t mess with your phone while diving,” he added.