12 Jan Four days of snow: Blizzard shuts down state, region
For four days, Bowman County was like most of the state – shut down by a blizzard.
Now, the region is in the middle of a massive cold front which brings sub-zero temperatures through at least through Saturday.
According to the Bismarck office of the National Weather Service, the recent blizzard broke records in the central part of the state. “The Bismarck area has received a record setting snow spanning from Oct. 1st to Dec. 31st and December isn’t even over yet. Most of snow has come from two major storms, the November Blizzard and the December Blizzard we just experienced. We are about 30 inches over our average snowfall for this time of year,” the meteorologists in Bismarck said.
The Bismarck area easily broke a snowfall record from 2008 on Dec. 13, almost doubling the old record of 5.9 inches with a new total of 10.4 inches.
The weather system which closed the state stretched across most of the country, with the meteorologists saying that it was drawing moisture even from the Atlantic Ocean.
According to the NWS office prediction for the southwest region before the storm really hit, the region had nearly a 90 percent chance to get more than 6 inches from the storm. The NWS said that had a 78 percent chance of getting more than 8 inches of snow and dropped to 36 percent for more than a foot of snow.
In Bowman itself, the storm had a big impact when both Highway 85 and Highway 12 were closed to traffic.
It also challenged the Frontier Travel Center staff for days, just to keep the business open.
“A huge ATTA BOY/GIRL and thank you to the staff at Frontier Travel Center for a job well-done during the storm. Our maintenance guys plowed nearly round the clock to keep the parking lots and pumps open. Our deli staff found ways to get to work or cover for each other so that we could have food for stranded truckers and others who came in to eat. C-store staff shoveled tirelessly in that northwest wind to keep the sidewalks open while also doing all their other duties.
“Those that were snowed in out of town kept calling to check on how we were doing. I’m proud to say that I work with all of you and appreciate all that you do,” the management posted Dec. 16 on Facebook.
With near zero or sub-zero temperatures being the norm for the week, the business also will be trying to prepare for another holiday dinner.
There will be Christmas Dinner served at Frontier Travel Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Christmas Day (Sunday). On the menu will be ham, pot roast, mashed potatoes, gravy, peas, bun, salad and dessert.
The adults will be charged $15.99 for the meal, while children 10 and under will be charged $8.99 for the meal.
The days of snow had a dramatic effect on the community, with local highways closed and the state issued a no travel advisory.
Bowman Police Department announced Dec. 16 (Friday) on Facebook that because of the deteriorating weather, for people to please refrain from going out onto the roads. Highway 85 and Highway 12 has been closed until further notice.”
There were reports of vehicles stuck vehicles stuck and Highway 12 had a traffic accident which blocked it for hours.
However, by Saturday morning the state No Travel Advisories issued had been lifted statewide, but with travel alerts in some areas.
Still, on Facebook the NDDOT stressed caution. “Risking your life to travel right now is not worth it. This is what our plow operators are facing on the Interstates — secondary roads are NOT any better. Our first priority is always your safety. The operators who clear blocked roads are the same ones who rescue stranded motorists. And they’re busy right now. Please stay put and stay safe.”
Nearby Highway 22 was described as being very dangerous over the weekend because of icy conditions and blowing snow. Law enforcement posted warning that anyone out on the roads should pack extra water, warm clothes and dress appropriately for the weather. Several agencies also stressed that the vehicles should also have winter emergency kits.
During the blizzard, much of Bowman was closed down, including the city and county offices, along with many of the businesses. Even’s Bronson’s Marketplace was closed Wednesday night earlier and Thursday they closed even earlier because of the worsening weather conditions and visiibility.
Friday morning, the supermarket remained closed.
In downtown Bowman, Windy’s Bar & Pizza Grill was closed during the blizzard, but by Saturday as the road crews cleared the streets, it reopened.
Among the information issued by the National Weather Service early in December was how to prepare for winter storms.
The NWS stressed that people needed to make sure they had supplies for the winter in order to make it ready before a storm arrives. They also suggested to have a plan for power outages or if leaving the home was not an option.
When it came to cars and trucks, the NWS also stressed preparing the vehicle by carrying a safety kit, cold weather gear and other necessities.
The NWS also stressed monitor television and radio broadcasts, along with online to keep up to date with available weather information.
The NWS also suggested that people should have plans for communications and travel before storm arrives.