MINOT – Persistent high winds Tuesday accompanying a fast-moving cold front made travel on the fringes of the city very difficult in the city and virtually impossible in the county. The wicked winds caused blowing snow, heavy ground drifting, and whiteout conditions across all of North Dakota.
The National Weather Service issued a Winter Weather Advisory in advance of the swift system, and issued updates as the day progressed on Tuesday. The advisory warned of blowing snow and winds gusting as high as 55 miles per hour that would significantly reduce visibility and produce frigid wind chills.
Williston reported a peak wind gust of 58 mph Tuesday morning with sustained winds of 35 mph. At the Minot Airport shortly after sunrise Tuesday the wind was listed as being out of the northwest at 38 mph with gusts to 54 mph. Stanley reported a peak wind gust of 56 mph.
The wind showed little sign of letting up after the noon hour. At 1 p.m. the Minot Airport recorded a gust of 51 mph with a west wind no less than 36 mph, marking the fifth consecutive hour of gusts exceeding 50 mph.
The North Dakota Department of Transportation issued a “no travel” advisory for most of the state due to the high winds. Extensive drifting was reported on many roadways in the state, including I-94 and I-29. U.S. Highways 83, 52, and 2 were all with the “no travel” area.
The initial issuance of the Winter Weather Advisory by the NWS was to remain in effect until 9 p.m. Tuesday.