Rescue efforts are underway to reach hundreds of motorists who are stranded in blizzard conditions across North Dakota. The North Dakota Department of Emergency Services (NDDES), the North Dakota National Guard (NDNG), the North Dakota Highway Patrol (NDHP), and the North Dakota Department of Transportation are working to reach these motorists. Weather conditions have begun to improve, allowing for search and rescue.
The North Dakota Highway Patrol (NDHP) advises that the safest location for stranded motorists is in their vehicle. Motorists should take every precaution to avoid injuries or exposure to the elements. Avoid getting wet or exposed to the wind, as this will increase the likelihood of hypothermia. Hypothermia is a life threatening condition that often requires medical treatment.
The NDHP will utilize its department aircraft for search missions beginning Saturday morning, weather permitting. The aircraft, which is equipped with infrared heat-sensing equipment, will allow areas to be searched that will be inaccessible to ground vehicles. The primary search grids for the aircraft operations will be areas where motorists may be stranded on secondary roadways and have not been able to call for help.
Lieutenant Jody Skogen offered the following advice for motorist awaiting rescue. "Be patient, conserve fuel and ensure that your vehicle's tailpipe doesn't become blocked with snow," stated Skogen. "Help is on the way."
The rescue effort will continue through the night and tomorrow morning until everyone is safe.