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Blizzard Disrupts Northeast Travelers

January 16, 2014, 5:00 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Blizzard Disrupts Northeast Travelers

Authorities advised no travel in much of northeast South Dakota Thursday as a blizzard created poor driving conditions.

Wind dropped visibility for drivers throughout the day. Blizzard conditions became worse, at times, very quickly, law enforcement officers warned.

"I started heading east of town here and I got out by the Cenex station. Blowing snow, poor visibility, you couldn't even see one of the trucks that was in the parking lot there," Richard Didde said.

So Didde will wait until Friday to drive out of Aberdeen.

At the Brown County Highway Department, crews waited to finish some work scheduled for Thursday as well. Highway Superintendent Jan Weismantel pulled trucks from the road Thursday morning for safety reasons.

"I listened to one of the drivers on the radio and he said he had his flashers on, his lights going, everything and could not see," Weismantel said.

Brown County winds peaked at more than 70 miles per hour. That was strong enough to rip a bridge guardrail in northern Brown County right off the posts holding it in place.

Conditions even in the shelter of town deteriorated.

"There are times you can't even see the intersection up there where the lights are," Didde said.

And Didde said that when he was parked near the intersection. His route would have taken him east through more blizzard conditions.

"Not worth the risk," Didde said, "unsafe, blowing snow."

State plow drivers in the northeast drove on roads throughout the day to monitor conditions and make sure there wasn't drifting. In town, Aberdeen city crews salted streets and opened drifted areas with blades.

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