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Severe Winter Weather Awareness Week brings reminders of driving safely for conditions

DOT snowplow
Dave Thompson, Prairie Public
DOT snowplow

As part of “SevereWinter Weather Awareness Week,” representatives of the National Weather Service, the North Dakota Department of Transportation and the state Highway Patrol want to remind motorists to be safe during the winter season.

That's especially true, after the mild winter of 2020-2021

National Weather Service Meteorologist J-P Martin of Bismarck said the indications are that we will have a “La Nina” winter. He told reporters it will likely start out mild, and turn colder in the second half of the season.

"As far as snowfall, the expectation is more than last season," Martin said. "Anybody should bet on that."

Martin said to get two years in a row with less than 20 inches of snow would be almost unheard-of in the state of North Dakota. He said the thinking is North Dakota will have close to normal precipitation.

Martin said since last winter was unusual – with it being dry and mild – he’s concerned about complacence.

"I'm concerned about folks who have lived in North Dakota for one or two winters, and think that what we had last year is a typical North Dakota winter," Martin said. "What we had last year is in no way a typical North Dakota winter."

The agency representatives are reminding motorists to drive for the conditions – meaning slowing down, and not driving on roads closed due to the weather.

"Name the Plow" contest

Meanwhile, North Dakota’s Department of Transportation is launching a “Name the Snowplow” contest.

"We're hoping that this fun way to engage the public will be just another way for us to remind people how important it is to be safe around snowplows, and how important it is to use the 'ND Roads App' to know before you go," said DOT Bismarck district snowplow operator Travis David.

David said people can submit the names by e-mail at dot.nd.gov. He said the names should be “appropriate” – and should have 15 characters or less.

"Winners will have the opportunity to have their snowplow name appear on the side of a snowplow in their area, and have their photo taken with that plow," David said.

The contest runs through Nov. 30th.