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Midwest Storm Building, Roads Closed

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Joanna
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« on: March 10, 2009, 11:22:40 am »

Midwest Storm Building, Roads Closed



FARGO, N.D. Heavy snow driven by wind gusting to 40 mph brought parts of the upper Midwest to a halt Tuesday, closing courts, schools, businesses and a major highway.

Up to a foot of snow was forecast Tuesday for parts of eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota.

The National Weather Service posted blizzard warnings and winter storm warnings for wide areas of North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota.

Minnesota and North Dakota authorities shut down a 130-mile stretch of Interstate 94 from Jamestown, N.D., to Fergus Falls, Minn.

It's the worst storm of the winter, said Clay County, Minn., Sheriff Bill Bergquist. He said plows were pulled off most county roads because visibility was zero.

He said the storm even shut down a popular hangout known for its trademark frozen desserts, the Moorhead Dairy Queen. "It must be bad. No one wants their Blizzard today," Bergquist said.

Fargo snowplow crews could not keep up with drifting snow, public works maintenance supervisor Lee Anderson said. "It's not pretty," he said.

Fargo residents were advised to just stay home.

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"Travel will become nearly impossible for employees trying to return home in afternoon hours," a Fargo city government statement said.

"Today would be a great day for people to enjoy maybe a movie at home," West Fargo Police Chief Arland Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen said most businesses in the area did not open Tuesday or closed early, and even North Dakota State University shut down.

"That really made a difference. NDSU usually doesn't close," Rasmussen said.

Some schools also closed in Minnesota and South Dakota.

The weather service said wind was blowing at 30 mph at Fargo, with gusts to 40 mph. The midmorning temperature was 4 below zero with a wind chill factor of 30 below.

On Monday, an ambulance rolled over on an icy stretch of I-94 west of Fargo, killing the patient it was carrying.

(This version CORRECTS that ambulance accident was west of Fargo sted Bismarck.)
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